The Art of Being Enchanting With Words
By Mystery Lady
There is a story of a handicapped girl who had fallen from a great height because she was on a swing that broke in mid air. She was miserable and was one of those people who just feel sorry for themselves all day long. Because she was bedridden, this girl let everything go to pieces- didn’t take care of her looks, was sour to her younger siblings who could run around and play, and altogether she was a kill-joy person. People did not like to visit her, because her room was always a mess. Worse yet, this girl just thought of herself and complained constantly about her pains and woes.
One day a visitor came. And then lots of people started to visit this girl because something happened. She became very popular even though all she could do was talk. What was the secret of her new popularity? This girl had learned the art of conversation. That is, she learned how to talk.
This is how she did it. We all talk from our hearts when we are not lying. So, the first thing that this girl – let us call her Jane – did was to make herself as nice as possible inside out. She began by learning how to think kind thoughts for others. This meant that she needed to do simple things like making sure she did not throw on any old clothes because she was always in bed, but to have nice fresh, clean, and welcoming things on. Having on suitable clothes and taking the time to attend to her hair do and a bit of make-up made it easier for people to talk with her since it is always nicer to talk with someone who is not grungy.
Jane began to do another thing which is hard for people who are in pain. She started to think of the needs, desires, fears, and joys of other people. When a visitor would come, she was the angel who entertained the visitor! Have you ever liked a person who is always the one who makes you feel so good because he always has just the right word for you? This was Jane’s secret to popularity. But in order for Jane to be popular, she needed to train herself to truly love other people. That way, her words were not fake, and people did come to her. They loved to just sit and talk because she was so nice to be with.
Thankfully, we don’t need to be handicapped in order to become well loved like Jane. However, there are many things we should pay attention to if we are to become good at talking with other people. Let us look at some of them.
Our Beautiful Interior Will Form a Beautiful and Attractive Speaking Presence
Because our speech reflects what is inside us, we need to first see what is in our hearts that we are going to share with others! We ought to have a great love for others that just shines through us in any conversation might hold. This love we can show in many ways, not simply in words. Like giving a smile to someone we pass by who may need a bit of cheer. Do we think well of other people? Can we see that though they may have their faults, they are still human beings who are worthy of being loved because Our Lord loves them?
A very lovely woman wrote in her autobiography the story of a companion who was not very pleasant to get along with. However, she had a heart of gold and loved this irritating woman dearly because she was loved by God. She would seek her company and was very loving and respectful to this woman. In fact, it was only long after her death that the companion learned that she was not a favorite friend! Was this hypocrisy? No! To be loving doesn’t mean one has to be attracted to a person. Rather, we are supposed to wish the good on everyone and do what we can to promote a loving and wonderful atmosphere. Even if a person does not respond to a greeting, we can still be kind in both our hearts and actions.
There was this man who would always pass an unpleasant guy on his daily walks. Every day he would give a friendly greeting, but would never receive a reply. Years later, he was forced to enter a concentration camp. One day the prisoners were being separated into two lines, one of them being to immediate execution. When his turn came up, the man in charge waved him over to the group that was spared death- it was the person he had greeted every day for years with no positive response!
Naturally, we do not always get such spectacular results from our efforts to be loving or charitable to others. But we should always cultivate the habit of treating each person well in our thoughts, actions, and speech. This is the first requirement for being able to speak with attractiveness.
Now, there is a problem here. How are we to be loving, if we are not very loving persons? Or, if we do love people, how are we to love them better and show this in an appropriate manner?
It is not enough to read of examples, nod one’s head, and say these are great stories and ideas. Instead, we have to make ourselves cooperate with God’s grace and get practical about putting these things into practice. So, how do we start to love people more?
Let us suggest the following exercise. Take a pen and paper or get in front of a computer and write down the following.
Names of people you see every day. These can be family members, friends, classmates or co-workers, members of organizations you belong to, etc.
Then go through your list and write as many positive things that you can about these people. Perhaps Uncle Charlie has a great sense of humor. Or Edith has a fabulous gift with art. Maybe Wendy is good at showing courage in the face of all odds.
Suppose you don’t know these people well enough to even come up with this list! Then you gently find things out. Things that are wonderful aspects of the people you often deal with.
What we have now is a list that can help us treat a person well, when the going gets tough. For the moment, let’s leave aside this list. And go on to how we are going to behave when one of these persons is around.
First of all, we are Christian women. Therefore we are going to do this in a spirit of true charity. We are going to act with our neighbors as we would to Christ Himself.
When we come into contact with a person, we must know what is an appropriate action on our part. Let us start with the people whom we have written about. If we were to bump into Edith and she looks down, we might inquire the cause. Perhaps someone she cares for deeply does not appreciate her art very much. Can we say something to ease the pain somewhat? Or perhaps Edith is very excited over a new art commission she received. To take a few minutes to share her joy might mean a great deal to her.
There are, and always will be, people who are more difficult to approach or get along with. Sometimes this is where your little list can be handy. You might have noticed that Wendy is very shy but looks like she might like to have someone to talk to. She is always at hand doing the behind-the-scenes volunteer work at events and things, and you noted that down on your list. This can give you an opening to talk to her. “Hi! I noticed that you were there at the XYZ function- did a marvelous job. What do you think the overall effect of that event was on the attendees? Wasn’t the speaker terrific?” Maybe Wendy seems like a huge grouch. She might blossom under such a question, and you might discover that her favorite cousin had just committed suicide and that’s why she’s all prickles.
Remember, the list of positive aspects is not for social veneer of pretend friendship, sympathy, or whatever. It is supposed to be an aid to help you think of things to relate to another person with. But you have to be authentic and truly interested in the person you are dealing with. And you speak in the spirit of Christ. For, it may very well be that most of the people you deal with are not fun to be around. That does not excuse you from being a very pleasant person. And that brings us back to the list.
We ought to put down things that irritate us about our friends and ways we shall deal with it in all loving kindness. Sometimes that means we must listen to boring tales. Other times we are called upon to tell our friend or family member that he is in the wrong about certain actions. In all cases, we should be prepared in advance to respond virtuously to the known failings of our friends that make us tempted to be impatient or in any way fail in charity. Charity, which is love, is not an emotion but an act of the will. So we don’t have to be attracted to someone in order to be truly loving. Our actions must be good towards the person whether we like him personally or not.
As we want this love of our neighbor to be so firmly ingrained in us that it becomes like second nature, let us now take the proper steps to insure this happens. It would be well if we were to make a resolution of making an effort to brighten someone’s day by something we say or do at least once or twice a day. This should be enforced by ourselves with either a positive or negative consequence. All of what we shall say about the art of conversation builds upon being truly in love with God and our neighbors.
Casting About Sunshine by Little Words
We are not hermits in a vast wilderness, but we live and work among other human beings. Have you ever met a very famous person and been surprised at the kindness with which he treated you? Or been repulsed by a snobbish famous person? While most of us will never make the headlines, nevertheless, we do have the ability to make the world a brighter place for those around us.
Let us begin with the people we hardly think about. Whether in academic walls or in other areas like one’s job location or Church, you will meet the janitor or others who care for the buildings. Is it possible to give a smile to these “regulars” who perform such a vital service to the community? Or at times express appreciation for their work? “Thank you for keeping things so clean or so beautifully landscaped!”.
People in the service industries are hardly appreciated. If they get any comments, they are usually complaints. To treat people as persons worthy of every courtesy should not be limited to one’s own circles. But rather, we should make a special effort to thank or otherwise acknowledge the employee who assists with a purchase or who slaved over making a good meal. Frequently it is the woman who is attentive to the small courtesies to all, who ends up being most beloved by people. Think of women like Mother Teresa. The consequence of being well liked in itself is not a reason to be courteous, because we ought to do things for true love of others, but it does give food for thought.
What about spreading sunshine among our friends or even enemies? It is saying the little things that show you appreciate the person as a person that make a huge difference in people’s lives. You might make an effort to learn more about geology if your friend is a geological nut so that you can say things that may help your relations. Of course, it goes without saying that you should be genuinely interested and not doing this for the sake of conversation. Falsehood for any reason is ugly and breaks down the ties of charity.
It cannot be over emphasized that in order for our conversation to have the quality of being beautiful, enchanting, absorbing, that our characters must be likewise beautiful.
Think, for example, on how you would feel if someone were to go on and on about the faults of others, but rarely speaks of their positive aspects. How do we know such a person is not telling negative tales about us behind our back? We should carefully examine ourselves to make sure that we are free from habits like this. While we don’t need to praise people when they are not deserving of praise, still it is only rarely that we need to mention the faults of another person. Let us try to be builders of that which is noble in others. By appreciating their true qualities and expressing that when appropriate, we help to motivate others to see beauty and perhaps desire to emulate it.
How To’s of Conversation
To be added later.