Known as "buyer's remorse," this is a person's sense of regret following a purchase, usually of an expensive item or a quick, spontaneous decision. Often this condition may not present itself until later in the evening or the following day. The good news is that most stores today have a no-hassle return policy, especially if the sales receipt is available as proof of purchase.
There is also a condition that we might refer to as "speaker's remorse," though I have never actually heard that term used. All of us have at some point in life made a statement that we later regretted. In fact, most of us likely have realized our regret as soon as the words escaped our lips; we realized immediately that we had made a mistake.
Did you know it is possible to apply a setting in your email account that will allow you up to 30 seconds to "unsend" an email? There have been a few times that I hit the "send" button by mistake before completing the email. How convenient to simply click on the "undo send" button which will stop the email from entering cyberspace!
It would be a wonderful thing if we had one of those buttons in real life, allowing us 30 seconds to take back our words before a person is able to hear them! Unfortunately, life does not work that way. When shopping, my hesitancy to make a purchase is not strong because I know I can return the item if I change my mind. Hence, I do not need to overthink the purchase. But we would do well to think carefully before we speak.
Once a word is spoken, it is out there for anybody and everybody who can hear it; no takesies backsies, no do-overs, no editing. Whoever came up with the childhood adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," was living in denial. Words can cut deeply, leaving wounds and scars not soon forgotten.
The Bible book of James warns that the tongue, though quite small, has much power, similar to the small rudder that guides a huge ocean vessel. Though the tongue is tiny, it can do enormous damage. Controlling one's tongue requires discipline, and practice, for it is a difficult task. At the heart of it is a desire -- a determination to refrain from inflicting emotional wounds upon another person.
Refusing to learn such discipline, we assume the role of critic and judge. Unfortunately, our biases disqualify us from making fair and proper judgments on another person's beliefs or actions. Yet, we do not like it when someone else judges us in the same manner.
Concerning impulse buying, financial guru Dave Ramsey suggests that a person desiring to make an impromptu purchase should go home and let the idea simmer in the mind. Often the power of that impulse is much weaker the following day, and buyer's remorse is avoided.
That seems applicable to our speech as well. Before impulsively responding to another person's behavior or beliefs, take some time to think about it, reflect on it, and consider the response that would best accomplish your true goal. Once emotions have settled, our judgments and decisions will be wiser and more prudent. That is the thinking behind the advice my parents gave me when I was growing up, "When you become angry, count to ten before you say anything." (As a child, I learned to count really, really fast! LOL)
The advice James offers is that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak. An apology to a person later, unlike the no-hassle return of a purchase, does not completely erase the wound or hide the scar. If we absolutely must speak it, how can we do so in a way that is productive and healing rather than hurtful and consequential? That is something to think about.