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ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS said to have been honest. In his day, his reputation got around by word of mouth. Gossip about him centered on the same theme: Abe is honest.

From the photographs I have seen, Lincoln appeared to have been honest in his emotions, too. His feelings look etched into his face. During the American Civil War, he wrote, “Forgive me for writing such a long letter, I haven’t time to write a shorter one.”

His routine, in and out of office, seems to have been to use words in a thoughtful manner. Workplace distresses did not keep him from offering condolences and encouragement to  others.

Much of my practice is certainly built upon missed and/or misinterpreted interpersonal communications. In sessions, it is endearing to see people rehear what they had previously misheard and watch understanding take the place of misunderstanding.

These days, texting gives people a chance to think before they “speak.” Of course, auto correct can always make messages go awry. When that happens, how will people know that the “mismessage” was not your intent? By knowing your usual way of speaking, they will quickly understand that the words are a misprint.

Verbal restraint is also needed in work environments. At a recent dinner, I overheard people talking about a business. I was astonished to learn that they worked for a company that another of my friends holds in high regard. The only thing I know about the company is what these opposing groups had to say. The hardworking nature of the enthusiastic employee, however caused me to respect this employee’s opinion more than the others.

I close this brief article, with more words from Abraham Lincoln:

I AM RATHER INCLINED to silence, and WHETHER THAT BE WISE or not, it is at least MORE UNUSUAL nowadays to find a man who can HOLD HIS TONGUE than to find ONE WHO CANNOT.

–Abraham Lincoln



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