How to avoid saying something hurtful
This is a commonly used Czech phrase intended to remind us not to make rushed decisions and help us avoid making mistakes. I am not even sure whether a similar saying exists in English, and while I could go online and find out, I have decided to let it be and focus on the meaning instead.
We have all had moments where we’ve said something embarrassing or regretful and wished we could turn the clock back or hit delete. For example, referring to the parent of a child as their grandparent, or congratulating a friend on their pregnancy when they just gained a few pounds since you last saw them.
We all goof up from time to time.
A few days ago, we had our friends over for a simple soup and salad lunch. As a proper host, I inquired about any dietary restrictions as well as their preferred spice levels, at which time I learned that our friends didn’t enjoy spicy food, which was fine. We sat down at the table, had a great conversation, and I was happy they enjoyed their non-spicy meal. To be more accurate, they had a good time until the husband began choking and coughing, which scared the hell out of me. I thought he was having a heart attack. He then spat out a scorching hot red Thai chilli pepper from his mouthful of salad!
I had picked a pepper the day before which had gone missing, now I knew where it had gone! I was completely mortified. Luckily, our friends were good sports about the situation, and half a gallon of milk fixed him right up.
At the moment, I also thought about how lucky dogs were that they could goof up and not be embarrassed, but then I realised I was wrong — dogs can definitely feel embarrassed! Just a few weeks ago, Pax got super excited while out fishing at the beach and accidentally drank too much salty water, which made him explode in the car on the way back home. Poor boy! He was so upset.😞
But there are other, even more serious, situations when we must
measure twice and cut once.
My partner and I went to our favourite pizza joint called Flatbread Pizza the other day. Yes, if you are shocked to hear that I eat pizza, of course I eat pizza! Who doesn’t eat pizza?! Thank you to our lovely Italian friends for inventing such an irresistible meal! Pax loves to go to Flatbread, hoping that kids accidentally drop a delight or two under the table.
I love this particular restaurant because they use a very high-quality organic flour that makes the crust thick and crispy and out-of-this-world delicious. It doesn’t give me the traditional “pizza hangover,” if you know what I mean.
Unfortunately, this time, the dough sucked! I looked at the flour bags stacked up in the corner of the restaurant, and sure enough — the flour was not organic and it wasn’t even the same brand they previously used.
One would call this a first-world problem, which it is. Still, the waiter started to explain that the war in Ukraine was the reason for their change in flours. He did not realize that two people in our group were originally from the Donbas region of Ukraine, and another friend was from Russia. All three of them are currently going through a difficult time and are traumatized by the events in their homelands.😔
So, I tried my best to steer the conversation away from flour, not realizing where it would lead.
Unfortunately, another person in the group started talking about the shortage of car parts, as they are also made in Ukraine, which only added to the moment’s awkwardness.
I do not think they intended to be insensitive; however, talking about supply chain issues in front of Ukrainian and Russian friends was not really the best thing.
It was a good reminder to me that we should always try to “measure twice and cut once” before saying something insensitive. We should strive to be more mindful and consider the perspective and feelings of others who are on the receiving end of whatever it is we are about to say.
Now that I have shared this story with you, I realise that I forgot to mention one more thing. Most people from our community have been blessed to have lived without going through the traumatic experience of war, which might make it a bit harder to be mindful when discussing or commenting on sensitive topics like Ukraine. It may be that having experienced a good life is a bit of a handicap when it comes to understanding the suffering of others who haven’t been so fortunate, but if we stop and think of how we would feel in their situation, I am sure it will be easier for us to choose the right words.
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Thank you for sharing this article. ❤️🐶✌️🇺🇦
About the author
Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.