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A woman who walks the talk is a woman whose words are consistent with her actions. She’s honest, she’s real, and she has integrity; in other words, she’s authentic. Her credibility is her most valuable strength as an effective communicator: she understands that her actions are more important in communicating who she is than her words.

The familiar phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” is one of the most profound observations about human behavior. All actions are in fact considered nonverbal communication. Without exception, our actions are our most powerful means of communicating with others.

Until we back our talk with action, our words are open to question. Psychotherapist Carl Jung once said, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do. Both women and men have sometimes been found to lack in credibility.

As women in particular, many of us complain that no one takes us seriously. Sometimes we experience a dismissive or condescending attitude when we don’t deserve it. It may be based on an unfair stereotype that “all women are ditzes” or some other demeaning assumption. Before we open our mouths or take a step forward, we face an image problem, and—fair or not—we need to counteract it if we want to advance.

At the same time, when women say something we’d better mean it, and—even more important—we’d better prove that we mean what we say with accountable actions. The eyes of the world are upon us, if we want to gain equal status with men. “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do,” is a quote by American statesman Lewis Cass (1782-1866). His words are still true now, and they apply now more than ever to both genders.

Men have credibility issues too.  Ironically, as opposed to our presumed lack of reliability as objects of discrimination, any doubts about men’s honesty are more likely based on their position of privilege. The phrase, “A man is as good as his word,” may apply to contractual agreements, especially those between men, but when it comes to romance or domestic relationships, the term is sometimes taken all too lightly by the male species:

As an illustration, there’s another axiom that, “Women fall in love with their ears, men with their eyes. This suggests that women show a certain gullibility in believing the flattering words any man may use when he’s trying to win her over. The words may or may not be true. But if a man is literally sweeping you off your feet with his charm, here’s a word of advice: A smart woman doesn’t believe everything she hears: she lets a man’s actions speak for him, not his words.

If we want to gain credibility, respect and validity, both men and women need to accept responsibility for our actions. If we promise something and then we don’t deliver, it doesn’t matter how much we apologize, our words are meaningless. It’s not until we follow through on our verbal commitments that we’re considered believable and worthy of trust.

To take it a step further, whether you’re male or female, “Actions may speak louder than words, but intentions speak the loudest.” If you’re making a statement about your your intentions that your actions have already proven false, your lack of sincerity will be the only thing that rings loud and true.

Beyond this, even your best intentions won’t mean much if you haven’t even begun to take any action. Procrastinating is not a sufficient excuse for not actualizing your words. In fact, no excuse will suffice. Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “If you want something you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

We’re always responsible for our actions, no matter how we feel: As just one example with universal implications, authentic love isn’t only a feeling, it’s also an action that proves that feeling on a consistent basis.

M. K. Jones