You can tell a lot about a person through both their words and their actions. Their words give you insight into what they think and feel, and their actions give you insight into their ethics, beliefs, and commitment. While there is a lot of debate about whether actions speak louder than words, there is a lot of reasons to believe that it is true. Following are 11 times that actions definitely speak louder than words.
1. When Trust Needs To Be Built
It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you want to talk about, trust is important to maintain it. Without trust, the relationship crumbles, suspicion and hurt feelings come in, and eventually the relationship falls apart completely. It’s easy to say something to try to build trust, but not as easy to build trust through your actions.
Each time you say you are going to do something, but don’t, your actions speak louder than words. You are telling the other person that you don’t have the desire, capability, or willingness to stick to your promises or word. Soon, you can say anything you want to someone and they will literally only believe it when they see it.
If you want relationships to last, then your actions need to match what you say. Don’t make false promises with your words and not live up to them!
2. When Committing To Goals
The New Year is a great time to make goals, but even you know that your words are often a bunch of baloney. You can make all the promises you want to yourself, but if you don’t stick to them, then you are not going to have much faith in what you promise yourself.
Think about weight loss. You may commit to working out each day for a month straight because you know that it will improve your energy during the day, improve your sleep at night, and help you burn off some extra calories. But, words won’t give you those benefits, only actions will. The same goes for all health goals, relationship goals, financial goals, and work goals.
3. When Parenting
Kids know that words are a bunch of false promises if action isn’t involved. I remember getting away with so much stuff when I was a kid because my parents never took action on what they said. I’m not sure if it would have taken too much energy to give me punishments every time I was bad, or if they just didn’t really care as much as they said, but I know that their words of threat never held any value to me when I thought about doing something bad.
Now, I’ve seen some families who follow up on their words. And you better believe the kids think twice before doing anything remotely bad. For the kid’s safety and the parent’s sanity, actions need to speak louder than words.
4. When Leadership Is Required
You’ve probably seen the picture of the boss and the leader. If not, here’s a visual: the boss is sitting at his desk being pulled by his employees while the leader is at the front helping pull the desk. It’s a great example of action speak louder than words.
If you have ever worked at a job where there is a lazy boss, then you can relate to this. Often employees see their boss doing nothing and feel unmotivated to do what their boss wants them to do. Why should they work hard for their boss when he or she does nothing all day long? But, when the boss gets their hands dirty and shows the passion they have for making things better, employees are more motivated to work and feel more passionate about what they are doing.
5. Sending A Message To Others
I’ve been in the grocery store where actions have spoken louder than words. Dirty looks, blocking people from getting by, annoyed stances, and staring are just a few of the gestures that show distaste in someone. They don’t need to say a thing to get their message across about the other shoppers, especially on a busy day.
This happens everywhere in public. People judge other people, let their pride get hurt, let the ego take over, and start to show how they really feel about everyone around them with rude gestures and inconsiderate actions. Yet, if you ask them what is wrong, they will tell you nothing! People in public hate to verbally admit that they are annoyed or angry, but they are not shy about showing how annoyed or angry they are.
6. When Responding To A Crisis
Everyone says they want to help after a major crisis happens, but actions speak louder than words. For example, if a town next to you experienced a flood, would you shake your head and feel bad for them wishing you could do something, or would you find out exactly what you can do – within your means – to help? Most people would talk about how much they want to help but not do a thing.
A friend and I were talking about this the other day. If everyone donated one dollar to the food bank every month, then nobody would go hungry. Most of us can lose a dollar without a care, but donating it? Most of us wouldn’t even consider it! We decided that it would have to be a forced requirement for most people do donate each month, but it would be worth it because even though people say they want to help, they don’t.
7. After Doing Something Bad
Every person who has ever promised to never do something bad again knows this well. For example, someone gets out of jail and promises they will never break the law again, and then ends up back in jail within a few months. Actions speak louder than words.
Kids are another example of this. They will swear up and down that they will never break the rules again if you just let them go out and play, but within a week they break the rules again.
8. Forgiving Yourself
You may say that you have forgiven yourself for something, but take a look at how you treat yourself to see if this is really true. A lot of people swear they have forgiven themselves, but still put themselves down or, worse, hold themselves back from going after what they want because they still don’t trust themselves.
For example, if you have hurt someone in the past, and have told yourself that you forgive yourself, take a look at your actions. Are you pushing others away so you don’t hurt them? Are you acting like someone who would hurt other people? Your actions will tell you a lot about how you really feel about yourself and what happened.
9. Forgiving Others
The same applies to forgiving others. You can tell someone you have forgiven them, but if you hold what they did above their head in any way, then your actions speak louder than words you tell them, and they know you haven’t forgiven them at all.
For example, when I was young, I stopped talking to a friend when my dating life picked up. I was more focused on dating than I was being friends, and my friend was (understandably) upset about it. We spent about a year not talking to each other or hanging out until I realized that friends were extremely valuable and got out of the love struck phase. When we got back on good terms, she claimed she was not upset about what happened anymore, but her actions said otherwise. She treated me poorly and made everything and everyone else a priority. She hadn’t forgiven me at all. In fact, I think she was trying to punish me with her actions. But when I asked her if everything was OK, she would always reply yes.
10. When Sympathy For Someone Is Needed
We all talk a big game when it comes to sympathy. Someone loses someone, and everyone is very sorry for their loss, but only one person bakes the casserole, goes over, and helps them take care of the house while they grieve.
I was watching a viral video on Facebook the other day that really drives this point home. A man has developed Alzheimer’s, and while his friends on Facebook still talk to him on Facebook, they don’t come visit him anymore. They say they care about him, but they stopped interacting with him since he started struggling with the disease. He made a video asking his friends to visit him, talk to him, treat him like they used to. In his case, words don’t mean anything to him, only action shows how much people really care about him and what he is going through.
11. When Motivating Others
If you have influence over other people, your words and actions need to align. If they don’t, you are going to lose your influence sooner than later, and when you are trying to do good things that is not what you want!
A great example of this is Shay Carl Butler. He has a YouTube channel where each year he starts out motivating others to lose weight with a bang, but then disappears from the channel altogether. He talks a big game, like when he made a ‘This is my year’ video, but then his actions don’t align with his words. He’s lost many fans on his weight loss channel because of this, and he’s lost the trust of many more.
Words Have Value In The Moment
The problem is that we mean what we say in the moment. But, when the time comes to follow through, our laziness, greed, ego, or unwillingness takes over.
– We say we forgive someone for hurting us because we really want them back in our lives, but once we start over in our relationship with them, our pride makes us want them to hurt back.
– We tell our kids that there will be consequences for their actions so that they will learn how to behave, but when it comes down to it, the work involved to follow through is too much so we let it go.
– We really want to achieve our goals and get excited about making them happen, but when the work becomes too painful, we drop them like a hot potato.
2 Steps To Always Align Your Words And Actions
1. Be Honest With Yourself
Are you really going to follow through with what you say? If not, don’t say it! Don’t make promises you can’t keep because you will end up losing trust in yourself and the trust of other people. It’s better to be honest about what you will or will not do than make a promise and break it.
Reflect on the areas of your life where you make a lot of promises that you don’t follow through with. Ask yourself if you can really stick to your promises, and if not, then you need to be more honest with yourself and others. You need to tell it like it is, and not mince words or tell people what you think they want to hear – or tell yourself what you think you want to hear.
2. Get Committed To The Big Things
Certain things, such as parenting, requires you to commit to matching up your words and actions. There’s no way around it! You will never teach your kids how to follow rules, stay safe, or act appropriately if you don’t match your words and actions together. Moreover, you will teach them how to make promises and not stick with them!
There are just some things in life that you have to stick with if you want a desired outcome. When it comes to happier relationships and better health, your words should always match your actions.
The power of commitment is huge! Once you really get committed to something, you feel motivated to do it, and soon it becomes a habit that you can easily stick to. When you know that you have to put forward the effort and stand by your promises in order to get the results you want, it becomes easy to just do it.
Can You Fix Something Where Your Words And Actions Didn’t Align?
Absolutely! When your words and your actions start to line up, you will notice that your faith in yourself will increase and other people’s faith in you will increase too. Everyone can come back and show that they mean what they say through their actions and rebuild their reputation. But it takes time to rebuild the trust. So don’t expect everyone to jump back on board with you just because you suddenly ‘say’ you are going to start standing by your words. You need to take constant and consistent action before that trust will be built back up.