Like many women I am probably seen as strong, but the truth is I am more sensitive than I want to be. If someone I care about speaks to me in a sharp critical tone, I have to fight to keep tears in check. More concerning to me is sharpness in the tone of my voice when responding to someone I love or care about. I believe many of us use one tone to outsiders and another with family. I try to stay in touch with the tone of my voice.
One way I have learned to improve my response to finding lights left on again or cupboard doors and countless drawers left open again and, and, and,…is to say to myself, “How important is this?” Other questions I ask myself, “Does it help to react? Will it make a difference?” Of course, the answer to those questions is no. Then, smile, accept it even if you have to slam the drawers shut a little harder to feel better.
Above all, I try to avoid criticism. Criticism is never helpful. Sometimes criticism subtly comes out in the tone of your voice. Make a point of listening to yourself when you are irritated, impatient, or disgusted. Your family and friends will be more likely to listen to you when you stay calm and patient. Raising your voice to your children will come back to you as they grow older.
When I faced a classroom full of noisy high spirited first graders, I quickly learned that speaking softly quieted them quicker than trying to raise my voice above their noise. The same principle applies in the family. The Bible addresses this truth in the verse, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Try it next time you feel impatient and frustrated.