I’ve always been known for being honest, sometimes brutally, even. I like to tell the truth, as I find it hard to hide things. This approach has brought me problems in life, especially in my relationships with people. I tend to just blurt out whatever is going on in my mind, without giving it a second thought. Indeed, a second after the sentence is out there, I regret saying it. And then it’s too late. As they say, there are 5 things that you can never get back: the stone, after it’s thrown, the occasion, after it’s missed, the time, after it’s gone, a person, after they die and a word, after it’s said. And for me, the word is the one I have always struggled to control.
It’s funny that I have become more and more aware of this with the years. I now watch myself and I can actually feel myself thinking something over before getting it out of my mouth. It’s almost like my thoughts now go through a process and the way they make from the brain to my mouth is full of filters. I have realised, thank God, that I am getting better at it. And I have also learnt a valuable lesson with the English people: sometimes, the silence is the best way to say something without making any sound.
My job has also contributed to my learning of this new skill. I am an Account Executive in an advertising agency and I spend my days dealing with clients, who are extremely valuable to the business and deserve the best treatment, even when they aim to drive us nuts. As an Account Exec, you need to be diplomatic and also be able to tell the truth, but in a way that the words you use make whatever it is not sound so bad. The agency I work at is called Happy Creative and I now have an expression for when I have to say something on an email but need to make it sound better. I type whatever I really have to say and then go over it again and “happify” it! Job done! When talking to people, I use the same approach, which makes my thought process very complicated… I need to first figure out what I have to say and then before saying it, I need to quickly choose the best words to say it. It can be a bit tiring, but once you get used to it, you start doing it unconsciously.
I think that the fact that I’m learning how to be more careful with my words is an achievement. I still feel I have a long way to go, but long gone is the Marilia that just said however bad my thoughts were to the people in front of me. I now consider things and actually select what I’m going to say, or if I should say anything at all. This has made me a more controlled person and, overall, a fairer person too, as many times what we think in one second changes on the next. I’m still very honest and I think I always will be. I’m just now more able to make honesty sound pretty.