My mother-in-law once said, “Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut.” When I heeded that bit of wisdom, I have been glad, when I did not, I often wished that I had.
Contrary to some popular psychology which encourages people to express themselves and tell people how they really feel, keeping one’s opinions to yourself and allowing time to bring reason before speaking will often eliminate unwelcome circumstances.
When another person is angry or frustrated and venting at you, your choice of words and the way they are spoken can defuse a situation or inflame it. Responding to that anger or frustration in the opposite attitude, with gentleness, and, on occasion, with a sense of humor can often dismantle a tense moment and save the day from spiraling downward.
Sometimes serious issues need a good discussion, and we should learn how to discuss matters in a way that is honoring of the person with whom we are talking, even when we disagree.
How do we keep from speaking our mind in a way that is not helpful? We can accomplish that goal primarily through an unselfish concern for the person we are speaking to. If we think more about the person than our right to be heard, we will find a way.
Action: Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.
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