Do You Suffer From Action≠wordophobia?
Action≠wordophobia is the fear of not being able to match your words with your actions.

It goes something like this:

I’m “healthy,” but my diet is crap. I’m “nonjudgmental,” but I share my opinion like it’s the word of God. I think I live in integrity by not initiating gossip, but when it’s laid before me, I partake. 

And I’m always making suggestions for things my husband could do better but that I never do myself. Bazinga!

My actions don’t always match my words. 

That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.

It’s easy to call out someone whose actions contradict their words. Parents are the worst. I remember my mom and dad castigating me not to smoke, but they both smoked like chimneys their entire lives. They’d tell me not to “yell at my sister,” even as they argued fervently night after night. It makes for confusing messages. What’s the old saying:  Do I say, not as I do?

Okay, but what’s the big deal?

Your husband tells you he loves you, and that you’re the most important person in his life. But, he’s late for dinner, changes your plans with him at the last moment and takes calls or texts during meals and other times with you. See the problem here?

When actions don’t match words, credibility is ruined. This is obvious in the business world where failing to follow through on a promise can make the difference between keeping and losing clients.

Your reputation at home is equally precious. It’s trashed when you, for instance, say you’re sorry but continue to behave badly. Kids pick up on this quickly and learn to disconnect words and actions as they grow into adults. Without stellar credibility, children and spouses will have a difficult time trusting you.

How much of what you say is, in fact, what you do?

I don’t believe people, including myself, say one thing and do another out of a conscious intention. It’s more likely a lack of awareness that our doing and saying aren’t jiving. So, don’t be too harsh on yourself right off the bat.

Take a moment — heck, take a week — and see if what you say coincides with what you do, both with yourself and others, at home and at work. I guarantee it’s worth it.

How to change.

Assuming you find that you need to work at doing more of what you say, there are things you can change. It’s safe to say that if any of our actions are going the opposite direction of our words, it’s likely we’re cultivating a well-embedded habit.

My first suggestion is to be honest with yourself. If your diet is crap, quit kidding yourself that you’re doing all you can to be healthy. Take a good hard look at places in your life where you give knee-jerk responses about what you do without really checking to see if you’re making an honest statement.  What about times when you say you’ve done something you really haven’t done completely? Being honest about what you say will help bring your words and actions into alignment.

Along the honesty lines, my next suggestion is to read Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements.  One of the four agreements is to “be impeccable in your word.” When you learn to be more honest with yourself and others, your voice will automatically flow into your actions. It takes practice.

Finally, a way to break this bad habit is to just share your word less often … period. You don’t have to make any statements about how healthy you are. Zip it! Take the time to just be a listener. The integrity of both your personal and professional lives are at stake. Don’t risk it. Be sure your actions match your words. 

As seniors in our communities, we are role models. Be sure those coming behind us see the value of what we say and that it matches what we do.

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