Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Don’t Speak

on June 8, 2017

Do you ever feel like if you don’t say what is on your mind you might… just… burst?

This happens to me, (and I imagine, many of us [women]),regularly. But one of the things I am working on to be better than my day before is keeping my unsolicited opinions and advice to myself. I am trying to listen more and talk less. But:  It. Is. Hard!

Recently, a friend of mine made a decision that I think may eventually be destructive. It wasn’t about her health, otherwise that would trump staying silent versus striving to live and let live. But, she didn’t ask for my opinion, so I kept my mouth shut. I even took the “think” test (see picture!) to be sure:  thinkwhat I had to say wasn’t for sure true, or guaranteed to be helpful; it definitely wasn’t going to be inspiring, was questionably necessary, and was likely not to be received as kind (regardless of intent). But I was still conflicted – would a good friend have expressed her thoughts regardless? Did I make a mistake by muting? So I did what we often do next (in our own ways…) and asked myself “What would Jerry do?” ♥jerrygarcia

 Well, THE Jerry isn’t around anymore (although I am quite sure he would have just minded his business), and MY Jerry is a dog, so… I went to Tom. Tom is a mentor of mine who once told me to keep a “(maybe) I told you so” folder. In this folder would be instances where I wanted to speak up and didn’t, but instead I would write down my Pearl’s (inside joke) of “wisdom” to get them out of my head. He told me to check back every so often on this folder and see if I was (ever!) right. He offered me this as a learning tool, to help me let others learn their own lessons and or go on to celebrate their successes  – without my interference.

This strategy has helped me see that I am right and wrong equally half of the time, which makes it so I own no part of anyone’s success, which I am fine with. But I struggle with the ones where my words might have prevented failure. But, then my brain turns this thought to the words of wisdom from a different Tom (Edison):  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I try to live this kind of life, so I must find a way to enable others to do the same – which means my mouth must stay shut.

My own experiences have proven to me that failure is necessary for learning and growing; that it is a seed from which success grows. So in times that I question my mouth shutting, I have to remember this. Failure, and growth, aren’t pain free, and it is hard to suffer / harder to watch someone else suffer. But we have to know on the other end that we / they will be okay; that it will be okay. Because, usually, it works out in ways we weren’t even innovative enough to imagine yet, because we were missing those valuable lessons learned.

So, my mouth will stay shut, and this will go into my “(maybe) I told you so” folder. I hope I am wrong, which would distract any disappointment for her and give me a growing experience – this is win / win. But on the half chance I am right, I will have to trust that her loss will eventually be her win.

Live and let live and or let go and let God; whichever way we see it, we need to stay seen and not heard if not asked (in these instances).

 

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