In the best of all possible worlds, the world would be made up of people consistently matching their actions to their words, and practicing what they preach. But we all know that’s not the real world—certainly not mine. Now, I’m not saying I don’t do try to do these things as often as I can myself; I do. But certainly not all the time! For example, I’ll say to someone I’m getting together with that I will “definitely” be on time—but often enough I’ll still end up running late (not a lot late for sure, but late). Or I preach forgiveness, but sometimes be unforgiving of someone anyway. Which of course makes me human, like the rest of the real world, right?
Here’s the thing though about the times when your actions don’t match your words and you don’t practice what you preach. If you only do this infrequently, much less hardly at all, that’s great. It’s great especially for your credibility and reliability in other peoples’ eyes, as well as you having respect for yourself for your upholding of your right values. The key issue here however is the word PATTERN. Specifically, and being totally honest with yourself, do you have a pattern in which your actions often enough don’t match your words, and/or a pattern of often enough not practicing what you preach (the latter BTW boils down to—as you may recognize—the proverbial “Do as I say, not as I do”)?
Because, if you do have either or both of these patterns, you owe it to yourself and to anyone around to whom you exhibit these patterns towards to mindfully focus on the three words I just mentioned: credibility, reliability, and respect. Meaning that: the more often your actions don’t match your words, and/or the more often you don’t practice what you preach, the less you will be seen as credible, reliable, and respectable. Not to mention too: at the same time, the more you may be perceived as being a hypocrite! Which in turn can fester over time into you becoming mired in two types of sabotage: first, sabotaging the relationship between you and the other person. And second, the SELF-sabotaging—of your respect for yourself!
What I’ve just spelled out here is when you are the person exhibiting these patterns of actions not matching words and not practicing what’s preached. Now let’s turn the tables now, and focus on when it’s the OTHER person in the relationship exhibiting these patterns, towards you. What then? Well, chances are the psychologist results are likely to be the same thing in reverse, I.e., you will see him or her as becoming less and less credible, reliable, and respectable in YOUR eyes. In which case this person may be the person to potentially sabotage your relationship together—particularly if over time, you find this pattern to become harder and harder for you to live with.
Moral of the story? Basically this: for the sake of mutual credibility, reliability, and respectability, as well as for each person’s self-respect, make a commitment to yourselves and each other. The commitment to, as often as humanly possible, match your actions with your words, and practice what you preach. Because in case you hadn’t been sure about it, in fact be sure that it’s a relationship-building thing to do!
Have you or someone you know been challenged on these two communication sabotage fronts?