I read a little saying today. Part of it I knew—Never reply when you are angry. We all know this is true. It is wise to never reply in an angry state, whether that be an email or a phone call or even a sharp little spat with your spouse, which can be a stellar tour de force.
The other two sentences in the saying, I am less familiar with. One is this; Never make a promise when you are happy.
That is a tricky one. My first thought is why not? Being happy is a good thing, right? On the other hand, after I mulled over these sayings, I get it.
Occasionally we have those moments of delirious bliss when we believe that we are walking on sunshine and, as my friend once said, unicorns are pooping out rainbows. In those rare times we may falsely believe this is real life. And in that delirium may make a “cross-my-heart, hope-to-die” pledge to someone.
By the next morning we may be back in the tunnel wondering if that glow at the end is a way out or a train heading toward us. We will most likely at least be back to normalcy. Those famous last words may be haunting us by then and all we can think is “What have I done?”
The other is Never make a decision when you are sad. Basically the same concept, reversed. When we are in a dark place, frantically reaching for a rope to hold onto, we will do anything to find light. Desperation and hopelessness are definitely not the mindset for making sound decisions.
If complete honesty were a reality, every one of us would admit that we have been in all three of those places – angry, (jubilantly) happy, and so very sad. These are delicate places that must be held lightly as if cradling a tiny bird in our hands.
However, there is one thing about this little saying with which I take issue. We have also been taught that the word never is to be used only in the literal sense. In fact, we have all muttered the phrase “Never say never.”
So perhaps there is indeed a time to reply when angry, pledge a promise when we are happy, and make a decision when we are sad.
On that note, always be discerning. This time, that word truly fits.