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The Art of Shutting Up

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

I'm a problem-solver by nature. I talk too much. Virtually all of what I do involves verbal and written communication. Right now, I'm talking to you whoever you are. By the way, what up doe? 

Though it doesn't always come naturally to me when someone I love has a problem, sometimes helping involves NOT helping. I KNOW! CRAZY, right? As time goes on, I learn more and more that there's an art to shutting my mouth. Not because I have nothing good to say and not because I lack impactful solutions to share and not because I say it in an ill manner which can be an issue of mine but because there are times when helping isn't quite helpful in that moment. 

Those instances include but are not limited to the following scenarios. 

When someone suffers a great loss like a death in the family, a miscarriage or stillbirth, that person doesn't need to hear cliches. That person needs to space the grieve. It is okay for people to weep in their mourning. I know we want to encourage them and there will be time to do so, but what they need is for you to shut up and just be there so they know they are safe to cry. Pray for them in silence if they don't want to hear you, watch t.v. with them, listen to music, feed them, or listen to them. Shut up unless otherwise noted and allow them to know they can cry or lean on you if they need. 

When your friend is in a toxic relationship or in a toxic cycle. You've already warned him or her,  so saying "I told you so" is ineffective EVEN THOUGH YOU DID! I know how frustrating that can be. I really do get it, but your friend has a decision to make and stating the obvious doesn't always help. Keep praying for your friend, maybe even send encoruaging messages, be positive, tell the truth always, but love that person from a far if his or her mess weighs too heavily on you and you see no light in sight. It's okay to love from a far. You don't have to become resentful. Do you. Depending on the relationship you can keep telling that real but eventually being helpful will be damaging to you if you see your friend not accepting it.