Updated: Oct 21
Is the next thing I'm going to say gonna be a madness? Potentially.
No intro, the biggest lie we tell people is "actions speak louder than words". You might be thinking "What on earth is this moron on about?" Firstly, bit rude. Secondly you ever thinking more deeply about the things that we do and say all the time. Things become so routine we forget why we say half the things we say or do half the things we do. And like with most things I speak about, of course the conversation is nuanced. I am not saying it is a flat lie but it certainly isn't as true or straightforward as we like to make out. I am so sure about everything I'm about to say that I know if you disagree with me right now I guarantee by the end of this post your mind will be changed.
So before we get into it, it's important to first establish what the statement means. I mean I'm not a moron... you're not a moron (I assume) it's quite simple. Talk is cheap and easy... believe what someone shows you not what they tell you. It's easy to say you love someone or that you're committed to doing it. But showing love and commitment is a hell of a lot harder. Most things aren't just words, they require a certain set of actions to back them up right? Make sense? Simple. So how can I still believe the sentiment is a lie when I have explained its meaning which, on the surface, make sense and is very logical... I'll tell you why. And actually the counter argument is also quite simple.
The answer is interpretation. The same two actions can mean two completely different things to different people more often so than words. Now don't get me wrong, of course people lie, but let's assume for a second that everything someone tells you is the truth. And we'd like to think this is the case with a significant other or a friend right? So now someone telling me something can potentially hold a lot more meaning than someone doing it. Actions not only have intent from the person doing them but also interpretation from the person receiving them. You suddenly taking longer to reply to my messages, to me, might seem like you're not interested whereas to you it's just because you're busy. But if you tell me you're busy then you're busy I don't have to make up my own story for what your actions mean. Does that make sense?
Of course actions mean something, and I stand by what I said earlier. Doing things is often harder than saying things and we all know this which is why we hold people accountable for their actions. Very rarely can you be criminalised for saying something but you can for laying a single finger on someone. Actions matter. But actions don't always mean what you think they do so yeah of course we can go round screaming from the hilltops that someone's actions seemingly don't match their words... but what if they do? What if you're wrong? Or not even that, what if you're both right? Or what if no ones wrong or right and its just a thing? I know full well that sometimes my actions don't always match my feelings. And I can often understand why people misconstrue them or interpret them in I way I didn't intend. But most actions have a reason, I can't for sure know how my actions are going to come across and I think we often get ourselves into sticky situations by acting in a way that other people expect us to act. Which in and of itself is disingenuous.
People will make up their minds about you, better they do that from you acting in a way that's true to yourself instead of trying to fill some role or idealised version someone has of you. And on the flip side give your interpretations room for error. I get it, it's hard when it feels personal. Because you would never act in such a way it's hard to believe someone else would. Of course I am not trying to give us all an excuse for bad behaviour there are certain expectations that the majority of us can agree on in terms of how we should treat one another. But in times when things may seem a little confusing or not so straightforward, take a step back and just think whether you are projecting your own biases on to someone else's actions. And to be fair... you might be right, a lot of the time you might be if you think you know someone well enough. But if you're not you don't want to go down a path you can't return from.
So okay, yes actions do speak louder than words but because they're louder it also leaves more room for scrutiny and review. Nothing is ever black and white things aren't always what they seem. You're one big walking concoction of emotions, feelings and biases. You're going to get things wrong, see things differently and misconstrue things... and that's okay. Don't get on your high horse proclaiming yourself to know the intent behind someones actions because of some story you've made up in your head. You don't know and it's okay not to know.
And here's the ultimate proof that words can sometimes mean just as much or more than actions. Most arguments, disputes and fights are settled by talking... that's what it comes down to in the end.