HEALTH FOR LIFE: When Is It the Better Part of Valor to Keep Your Mouth Shut?

Opinions abound on matters starting from politics to faith, from relationships to local weather change. Conversations now not simply occur across the water cooler at work. With the arrival of social media, sharing these beliefs is as straightforward as tapping fingers on keyboard and urgent “publish.”

There was a time when the “taboo topics” of intercourse, faith, and dying had been merely not mentioned in well mannered firm. As of late, the gloves are off and we go at it with gusto, daring to strike again at anybody who disagrees with our finely-honed notion of how life needs to be.

Trolls are a part of the mucky mixture of missives as effectively. Wikipedia defines a troll as “an individual who begins quarrels or upsets individuals on the web to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in a web based group (similar to a newsgroup, discussion board, chat room, or weblog) with the intent of scary readers into displaying emotional responses and normalizing tangential dialogue, whether or not for the troll’s amusement or a selected achieve.”

I do my greatest to not interact them, since it’s a waste of time and virtually at all times get my abdomen in knots. Clearly not definitely worth the effort as a result of altering that individual’s thoughts is unlikely. On the uncommon event when somebody with this orientation exhibits up on my Fb web page, I present them the door. Though, I do admit, it’s fascinating to observe the interplay between them and others who frequent my “sandbox.”

I’m not alone in carrying a worldview based mostly on my upbringing and selections I made consequently. The older I get, the extra opinions I (and I daresay others) add to my backpack that I tote with me after I exit into the world, actually or in cyber-form. I do have guidelines to which I adhere, which incorporates:

  • No identify calling.
  • No pigeon holing based mostly on faith, tradition, nationwide origin, gender presentation, sexual orientation, pores and skin coloration, socio-economic standing or political social gathering.
  • When my buttons get pushed, I normally take a breath earlier than responding, if in any respect.
  • I ask myself the aim of claiming something… do I wish to be proper and make the opposite individual or individuals mistaken? Do I need approval? Do I wish to appear to be a smarty pants? Or do I wish to provide a special perspective as meals for thought? The third possibility feels probably the most soul satisfying.

That final one got here into play as I “stepped in it” a couple of days in the past. 

Somebody I don’t know effectively sufficient requested me a query on-line. Apparently the query was only a joke, however I didn’t know that. I assumed they had been asking a severe query about whether or not to take a break of their consuming. I gave suggestions based mostly by myself lens as a therapist/addictions counselor responding with a button-pushing inquiry into their relationship with alcohol and the way our tradition glorifies consuming, explaining that for some, whose household and social gatherings at all times embody alcohol, it is more difficult to abstain. I used to be on a roll, up on my soapbox.

This particular person was offended, pondering that it gave the mistaken impression about them. I took it behind the scenes, apologized and mentioned it with them and we appear to know one another’s perspective. That’s how I favor to deal with disagreement — not out in a public venue. I sat with the expertise for a day or so, feeling chastised and wishing I had made a special selection initially.

Lesson discovered: It’s the higher a part of valor to not reply.

I take into consideration the Three Gates via which our phrases ought to go earlier than being expressed:

  • Is it form?
  • Is it true?
  • Is it crucial?

There are occasions when I’m adept at passing all three of these checks and generally, like the newest expertise, I clearly am not.

The opposite piece of steerage to which this could possibly be utilized comes from Disney-wisdom, i.e., Should you can’t say something good, don’t say something in any respect. My mom shared it with me way back. Generally it has backfired, when I’ve allowed my co-dependent, people-pleasing persona take over. I’d slightly be diplomatic than “good” in my communication. I think about how what I’m about to say will likely be acquired. I query how it might land with me if another person expressed the identical opinion delivered in the identical method. Would I be offended? I additionally take into accounts household of origin patterns.

After I adamantly disagree with one other individual, I remind myself that if I lived that one’s life, had the interactions they did and developed the identical world-view, I would make the identical selections they did. It is useful when going head-to-head with somebody whose values have them supporting a damaging, short-sighted system. It’s admittedly onerous to not demonize them after they stand for a lot that I oppose. There are occasions after I must actually or figuratively clamp my hand over my mouth to keep away from probably damaging phrases to spew forth. Even this avowed pacifist has war-mongering ideas. Making somebody the enemy for seeing life via totally different lenses reinforces otherness, by which we view individuals with differing opinions as “not like us,” and due to this fact worthy of disdain and disrespect.

Being a thoughtful listener is a part of the method. Being current with one other as they share their story can lend itself to deeper understanding. Many people, myself included at occasions, hear with a view to reply. We could already be formulating what we wish to say as the opposite individual is speaking. It’s then that I must redirect my consideration to the human in entrance of me, on the cellphone or throughout the cyber-universe.

When Is It the Higher A part of Valor to Hold Your Mouth Shut?

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