Two words that can change every relationship you’re in. We’re so quick to use this phrase to silence others when it’s us who needs silencing. Your opinion is not always needed. Your truth does not always need to be told (at least not at that moment). It’s okay if you’re the only one who knows you’re right. (insert your name), shut up.
I don’t consider myself very talkative, I’m not very expressive, and more times than not, I’m trying to fade into the background. However, my friends and family will tell you a different story. You have a problem, I have an answer. It may not be the right answer, but I have one, always. Even if it’s not a problem, I have something to say. Always. I could tell myself to be quiet, but I don’t seem to understand that. Be quiet sounds like a suggestion to me. I HAVE to tell myself to shut up. Maybe you can be a bit kinder to yourself, but whatever it takes, get your mouth closed.
What I think is being helpful, becomes damaging. My younger sister probably gets it worse than anybody because I know her better than most people, so as her big sister of course I know what’s best for her life… Expect I don’t. And the more I give my unsolicited advice, the less she wants to talk to me. She will tell you I’m usually dropping that knowledge, but a lot of what I say she’ll come to it on her own. If she’s in a dangerous situation, yes, I’ll speak up, but if I feel it necessary to always say something about everything, my “help” becomes a nuisance to be avoided, regardless of how helpful it is.
This is difficult for me and I’m learning to practice it daily because my relationships with the people I love are too valuable. Your job may be too valuable. Your marriage is too valuable. Your relationship with God is too valuable. This doesn’t mean you are a “yes man” or “yes woman,” and you go along with whatever is said but it requires you to use discernment and discipline. It means saying, “I think otherwise, but that’s me,” and leaving it at that instead of giving a dissertation as to why your perspective is the best perspective. Maybe the person will ask for more details, but it’s likely they won’t and you (we) need to be okay with that. If we can shut up, we will find ourselves hearing more and understanding more. We all just want to be heard. So do the people in your life a favor, and shut up.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.