Facta, non verba.
Translated literally, it means “deeds, not words.” It’s been a motto of the wise since the time of the Romans. Even in the ancient world, so much more centred around actions rather than words, it served as an important reminder.
Today’s world places an exuberant amount of importance on words. We’re triggered by the harsh ones and we’re attracted to the pretty ones. We, at some point, began placing more importance on what’s being said than what’s actually being done. We’re blinded by all the dancing words around us.
It’s a lesson I’ve failed to learn many times. I hear the loving, or trusting, or agreeing words from work mates, friends, or the people closest to me, and I can’t help but believe them. Most of us can’t help it. I’ve recently realised that, like so many other parts of our lives, we assume people treat words the same way we do.
But like anything else, you can never assume people’s values are the same as yours. Nowhere is that more true than in the realm of words.
Some people are guarded with their words. They choose them carefully and use them sparingly. They say what they mean and mean what they say. When something comes out of their mouth, you can trust it. You know it won’t change in an hour, or a day. Obviously some things can change instantly, and that cannot be helped, but for most circumstances you can take their words to the bank.
Others use words more frivolously. They like the way the words sound at the time, or like the reaction those words have on other people. They use words to avert attention, avoid certain situations, or to gain an advantage in their favour. Their words are tools. Not tools of truth, but of manipulation or power. Their words change as commonly as the weather. The words sound lush and full of real emotion, but you can grab them no more than you can hold the air in the mountains.
It’s sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between the two types of people. Some people talk a lot and mean every word. Some people speak sparingly but never with truth. Sure, sometimes it’s easy to notice when a person’s words are empty and not to be trusted. Like those who whisper loving words when seas are calm but spit venom into your face at the first sight of disagreement. We should be thankful for those moments, but not everyone is that easy to read. The key is to listen to the languages of the body. We must learn to listen to actions.
It’s incredibly easy to lie with words, but it’s much more difficult to live in that lie. The problem is, most of us ignore the signs of the body, the actions. Someone tells us they miss us, but something keeps coming up and they just can’t seem to make it for the coffee catch up. Someone tells us they love us, but their actions are cold and unloving. They tell us they will/want to try, but you see the effort isn’t there. Stop ignoring the actions which, in hindsight, are always painfully and obviously contrary to the words.
We don’t have to always be around the actions over words types. A lot of people would rather be surrounded by soothsayers and flowery loving words, because let’s face it, it’s easier and less confronting than the words of people who will be brutally honest but trustworthy. It’s easier than the triggers. It is the age of participation ribbons, after all.
But it is important to know the people you can trust at their word and those you must diligently watch in their actions to see what they’re actually thinking and feeling.
When it comes to life, and especially to love, the actions of others should always be your guiding compass of who you should keep in your tribe.
Actions have always spoken louder than words, be brave enough to start listening.
There are people who will tell you they will always be there, but there are others who will show you they mean it.
Be good to each other,
Featured Image Courtesy of: commons.wikimedia.org
Jon Snow Courtesy of: blacknerdproblems.com