Use your inner voice. I’ve heard this said a lot lately. Not necessarily directed at me you will understand, and when it was, in jest (I think). Hopefully the phrase’s comeback isn’t attributed to a very similar reference made throughout the trashy novel of the moment, but nonetheless it appears to have had a resurgence amongst witty repartee hereabouts.
To one colleague or friend, a personal anecdote may be hilarious, to another, over-sharing. I’ve joked in the past that I went into HR because I was “nosey”. This wasn’t in a prurient sense and I later worked out that it was actually an extreme interest in how people tick, psychology, and latterly neuroscience, which had drawn me in.
There’s always a reason why we say things, whether we are conscious of it or not. That reason might be to make friends, or try and make people laugh. Or it may be darker than that – to embarrass people or be malicious. One of the worst reasons is when people simply don’t care what impact their words have on others.
Everybody has an opinion. Aside from what society dictates as right and wrong, it tends to be about personal preference. Recognising that difference is key.
There’s a workplace skill I believe is essential to all professions, yet which only a handful (HR included) are focussed to hone, and that’s the ability to see things from two (or more) perspectives. Not only that, but to react calmly, with balance, and to question.
There’s multiple inspirational quotes about “inner voice”, the general message of which is to listen to it. But what if our inner voice is a self-centred, prejudiced coward? And worst of all we don’t know it? Sometimes the most challenging questions we can ask are of ourselves.
So those people who say they “don’t care” what others think are doing one of two things. They’re either insecure and care overly what others think and are thereby trying to justify their actions; or they’re selfish and are unable to see why people might think differently to them.
“They’re only words” some might say. But rash words lead to rash actions, and that’s a whole different story.
@Philwillcox also wrote this excellent post about words which I recommend you read. Please also see this post from @Tanveernaseer about inner voice, and which is where I sourced the image for this piece.