Being Scrupulous with my Words

I think there is an old Jewish saying that said “Be scrupulous with your word”, and throughout my life have used this phrase as a mantra to remind myself to always be honest with others, and not say anything I don’t mean. Of course, like all practices I don’t always do it perfectly, but it is a guiding principle that I try to hold myself to overall.

I thought I did a pretty good job of that until Stephanie pointed out that I sometimes project what I want on her, instead of owning it myself. An example (which I have taken from a reading she shared) is if we are eating lunch and I am ready to go, I ask her “Are you ready to go?” But this isn’t scrupulous. The full truth is that I should ask “I am ready to go, are you?” but instead I am taking a shortcut, leaving out the expression of my own feelings.

The difference is subtle, but I do think that it is very important, since in the former (“Are you ready to leave?”), at best I am not expressing my own wants and needs, and at worst I am negating my own wants and needs, by giving her full power to say she is happy to stay. And more so, if I am honest, I’m really not asking. I’m telling her that I am ready to go, but not really being clear with my words.

Contrast that with “I am ready to go, are you?” or perhaps even more clearly “I am ready to go, can we?” This is much more is expressive and owns my own desires.

One is meek, one is bold. While they are both true, one is certainly more true than the other.