Actions speak louder than words has always been a phrase I’ve heard people say. I don’t think I’ve fully understood it until recently. Many things have lead to me really appreciating the meaning of this phrase and it’s really helped me react and handle interactions with others in a much healthier way.
The fact is, it’s easy for people to say things but does their behaviour and actions match their words. Looking at what people do, how they behave tells you a lot more about a person than their words do.
I’ve experienced false promises, threats, lies and people being deceitful over the course of my life. I’ve since learnt in both my professional and personal life not to put too much storage on what people say but to look at what follows it more closely. Having a child and getting divorced really reinforced this, people can say they care about toddler P, they can say they want to see her, miss her and want a relationship with her but do they follow suit? Do they make the effort beyond a social media like or photo comment? Do they ask to visit, invite us over or arrange to meet for coffee? Do they follow up their words or merely declare them as a polite necessity that’s not then acted upon?
People can say they’ll be there for you and support you but do they actively work to make the friendship equal? I have one friend who immediately springs to mind (actually quite a few who fit into this category when I think about it) and we can go for a long time without talking but both regularly check in with each other, make the effort when we can and always know either one can be called upon when needed, no questions asked or expectations required. Just genuine friendship demonstrate through honest actions that mean more than words.
I have a mum group of friends that I’ve mentioned in many different posts. Their actions show me they are my kind of mum and my kind of friend. We have a little group chat and you can guarantee that if you need someone they’re there to answer when you just need a “you got this mama” response to the rough nights sleep, teething problem or toddler tantrum issue. These girls have got my back as much as I have theirs all demonstrated not through words but actions.
Learning the lesson of watching what people do rather than what they say has also taught me that sometimes no reaction is the biggest reaction. I’ve sometimes been the victim of gossip and lies, however I’ve just left these to fizzle out themselves. Why? Because the truth always comes and additionally those people know the truth and demonstrate the truth through their actions and behaviour. I don’t need to defend myself or share my side of events because if left then people see whether someone’s behaviour follows the picture they are trying to paint. This is also true for my working life, colleagues and staff can say what their moral vision and purpose is or what they want to support within the department or school but it’s whether or not their actions and results follow suit that counts.
I think the importance of this message is crucial for when you are struggling with something. When you’re feeling like the world is against you, which is a place I was once in and the phrase and title of this post got me through. It reminded me of what and who really matters will be shown and clear to me. It’s helped me with doing the right thing in my job, by my daughter and for myself. It’s helped me keep the people that matter close to me and to not worry about those that don’t. A lady I find very inspiring and strong, always says to me when I go to her for a quick supportive chat, “you just need to focus on you and that little princess P, anyone else that cares will be there when you need.” And it’s true.
A last little anecdote before I wrap up, is a friend recently had two of her closest friends turn up randomly at her house, they finished up having impromptu drinks and a laugh together. It was all because they were concerned, her phone had broken but they didn’t know and were worried when they couldn’t get home of her. That to me is one of the biggest and kindest actions of true friendship, they took the bull by the horns and proved they cared by ensuring she was ok. It wasn’t words, it wasn’t a promise, it was an action.
So next time you need to think about what to do and how to deal with people, take a look at their actions and behaviour not their words. Look for the proof and evidence in their behaviour.