Actions truly talk – when words and actions go hand in hand

Actions truly talk – when words and actions go hand in hand

Meenakshi Kirtane

Founder, Director at Maanas


It was early in the morning and I was still a little drowsy. Half asleep, I heard some voices in my garden. As I lazily walked towards my garden, I saw two entities deeply engrossed in a debate. Upon a closer look I realised, to my utter surprise, that it was ‘Words’ and ‘Actions’ who were seated on my garden chairs, having an argument. Thoroughly curious, I asked them if they would mind my being an onlooker. They both quickly agreed, more to get over my interruption, than really even noticing who I was. So I ran in, got my cup of morning tea and sat close to listen to them.

Words and Actions – the power debate

They were debating  who, amongst them, was more important, more powerful, more credible.Words were saying, that they were the most powerful; that, on one end, their choice and the way they were used, could move and motivate people to do great deeds; they could also deeply hurt and devastate people. They could go in circles, to completely confuse the reader/listener. On the other end, in a simple line, words could make everything crystal clear. As usual, words were emphatic and saying a lot.

Actions, on the other side, were contemplative; not accustomed to talking much, as moving was more their style. Though today morning, Actions had decided to stand up to the occasion and take Words head on. For a change ‘Actions were talking’. They said to words, “While we accept that you are an extremely powerful entity, we think we are even more powerful. In fact, not only are we more powerful, we are even more credible and lasting. You see, what you might express could be difficult to undo at times, but still some correction is possible. What we do, if not well thought or erroneously done, causes a larger problem; that might, at times, even be impossible to undo or rectify!

As several rounds of such back and forth kept happening, I sat there wondering why were they even debating in the first place. While there was value in what both were saying, weren’t they supposed to be complementary companions to each other? A seamless extension of one another? So why all this discord between them in the first place?

I mustered some courage and asked them this question. Both of them stopped mid-sentence and gave me such a look that, for a moment, I felt like a weirdo. But I stuck to my point and asked them my question again.

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Words and Actions – The Complementary companions

Suddenly both off them became one and told me “We are debating with each other because we don’t belong to the same camp any more. While we are seamless and have always wanted to be together, it is you humans who separate us. You keep doing that all the while and now you are asking us why we are arguing?”

I was a little taken aback by their vehemence, but carried on further and asked them, “What have we humans done?”

They both replied that for words and actions to mean the same thing, it requires a lot of hard work. Congruence of thoughts, words, feelings and actions is not an easy process. At every step, deliberation and thoughtfulness is required. A courage to deeply listen to oneself is required; and also the integrity and courage to show on the surface, what one really means on the inside. Very often, people are either careless, scared or plain, simple lazy to put in the kind of effort that is required for this integration.

“It is rather easy to say things you don’t mean or use words without thinking of their impact. Behave impulsively, take shortcuts. With all this happening so often, isn’t it obvious why both of us are so split from one another?”.

What they said in unison made so much sense to me that, in that moment, a lot of things fell into place. I understood why I valued some people more; why something in their body language told me I could trust them; and most of all, why such people were far and few. I looked within, at those occasions where I had gotten carried away by the emotion of the moment and made promises or taken commitments that were far beyond me and definitely not well thought out.

Integrating words and actions

I asked them, “So what can I, or anyone for that matter, do to change this. How do we all find our integration of words and actions?”

They both said, “There are a few things everyone can do.

  • First and foremost, breathe…and breathe well and deeply, into each thought and word that comes to you.
  • Next, slow down and listen to your thoughts. Even as they are formulating themselves to turn into words, listen to them.
  • Then connect them with who you are, what your capabilities are as a human being, what your present commitments are and what can you realistically live upto.
  • After this, think of the other person you are interacting with. How would your words and subsequent actions affect the other.
  • Finally take your time and then say what you have to say.

As you do this, you automatically realise that the words that will then come out, will be close to both what you mean and what actions you will take.”

“For both of us to meet, you will need to choose to become a bridge between us, every single time. You know it is hard work; but as we both come closer and finally start meaning one and the same thing, you will realise the potency of that togetherness within you.”

“Apart from what it will give you, we need this for ourselves too. You know, every time we are able to meet in a human being, we feel one and blissful. So not just for yourself, will you do this for us? Do you love your words and actions enough to want to do this for us?”

These sentences kept resonating within me for a very long time…and I soaked in that vision of me; where my words are my actions and my actions are my words; that vision of unison, integration and congruence made me completely still.

I leave all of you with that sense of stillness. That moment of stillness where words and actions have found an integration; a home where they are together!!!

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Suma Rao

Very good one. Keeping our actions inline with words is crtical part of living a satisfactory life. Its very important to keep relationships strong and happy. Thanks for this beautiful writeup.

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