206 Days ’til 40: Holding My Tongue

30 Jul

Before the tongue can speak, it must have lost the power to wound. ~ Peace Pilgrim Quotes

Better slip with foot than tongue. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue – to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak. ~ Socrates

The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. ~ Josh Billings

He hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper: for what his heart thinks his tongue speaks. ~ William Shakespeare

The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood. ~ Buddha

There is no evidence that the tongue is connected to the brain. ~ Frank Tyger

Whatever is in the heart will come up to the tongue. ~ Persian Proverb

I love how there are moments when a post I start off writing turns out to be a completely different post/ topic.  I thought I was originally going to write about sticking our tongues out at people and life, holding our heads high and not letting the little stuff get to us.  Yet, as I read all the amazing quotes on tongues, I realized that writing about us holding our tongues is more important.

This is something that I struggle with.  I do not struggle with holding my tongue because I am a gossip – I really am not a gossip.  I struggle with holding my tongue because I am a communicator.  I want to work out problems and talk them through – immediately.  I have had to learn, sometimes the hard way, that time can sometimes be a better healer of issues than speaking.  I have also had to learn to pick my battles and realize that some conversations are necessary, and others are not.  This can take a lot of will power.

At the same time, when someone is not willing to engage in a conversation to solve problems, I find myself wanting to brainstorm solutions with others.  This is where I have had to learn (and re-learn, and re-mind myself) to use discretion.  I think it is invaluable to get input from others, as long as they can truly be trusted to respect confidentiality and problem solve with you.

I am a person who likes honesty.   In fact, my biggest pet peeve is when someone lies to me.  I extend the honesty I expect from others to everyone in my life.  Most of the time this is a gift that is respected and allows me to form deeper relationships with the people in my life.  Sometimes I have moments when I realize that I need to filter myself more, or find a more tactful way of answering a tough question without telling a lie (since I won’t lie).  Ultimately, I would choose blatant honesty any day over an individual who is not authentic or genuine, claiming all is wonderful when it really is not…. and yes, that means I sometimes manage to get myself into a bit of hot water when I tell my partner that her feet stink or tell my oldest daughter that her particular outfit appears to have been chosen in the dark…  it is a learning process!

Today, 206 days ’til 40, I will remember the great power of my words – to harm and to heal.  I will continue to maintain my values of honest communication, while remembering the feelings of those I communicate with.  I hope you do too.



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32 responses to “206 Days ’til 40: Holding My Tongue

  1. walkwiththerabbi

    July 30, 2012 at 00:57

    Very nicely said. It’s interesting how we writer’s propose to go down a certain path and then “life happens,” and in an instant, we’ find ourselves going down a different one. When I first began writing my book, I was several thousand words into it, when I realized it wasn’t the book I was supposed to be writing – “The Walk” was then born.

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:06

      Wow, that is amazing! I have heard others as well who have started out writing one book and found that the book seemed to take on a life/ direction of its own and a different book was ultimately born! 🙂

  2. changeforbetterme

    July 30, 2012 at 00:59

    I too am what I call a “fixer”. We want to fix whatever problem faces us or the ones we love! But I have learned that sometimes people don’t want a fix, they just want an ear to vent to. I have found I need to listen more closely and I can most times tell if someone wants a “fix” or just wants an ear. It’s hard!

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:06

      Yes, very true, sometimes people do not want a fix…. I agree, listening is a big part of the equation – which can be VERY challenging for someone who just wants to solve the problem and move on!!! 🙂

  3. mskatykins

    July 30, 2012 at 01:39

    I can’t stand lying, 400! One of my faults and good aspects is my honesty – but sometimes that can get you in bother! It can be a real minefield when you’re communicating with folk. We’re similar in this fashion – I much prefer to deal with things head on with people but they don’t always agree! Hmm!

    Love the quotations – particularly the Benjamin Franklin one! 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:07

      Yes, we are very similar! If we lived closer to each other we could hang out! I find that I look for this quality in friends because I always know where we stand with each other and we can have more fun that way. But, as you say, others are not always as appreciative of the honesty as I am (oops!) 🙂

  4. Lani Longshore

    July 30, 2012 at 02:16

    Oh, my, does this post resonate with me! Both of my kids are back home while they are looking for work. I am relearning the lessons that came so painfully when they were teenagers – let them talk and refrain from offering a solution unless asked; focus on my tone of voice, not theirs; answer them as I would a colleague, not a subordinate. Good luck to both of us!

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:08

      My girls are still in the home and this is a constant challenge for me. Constant. I think the key for me is trying not to get hooked and doing my best to distance myself from both my emotions and their reactions (i.e.: if I am not happy that they do not seem to care about an issue I want them to care about).

  5. buckwheatsrisk

    July 30, 2012 at 03:13

    holding what? 😉 i have to show this to my Hubby who like to call me old amongst other things he thinks are hilarious…lol

  6. sahbinahvioletflynn

    July 30, 2012 at 05:24

    I love this reminder. I’m an Aries and we typically blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:12

      It is always a good reminder for us all 🙂

  7. doubleinvert

    July 30, 2012 at 05:41

    The question of when to hold one’s tongue has been on my mind a lot recently. A few months ago, I blew up at my father and younger brother as their bigotries became too much for me to handle. For 30 years, I’ve been hearing my dad say people like me should be taken out and shot. He probably didn’t mean it literally, and he probably didn’t realize I identified with those whom he hates. Now that I’m out as trans and queer, things are somewhat different.

    I held my tongue for 30 years in an effort to keep peace between us. I fear that in doing so, I have harmed other loved ones.

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:16

      You bring up some very good points…. as I am learning when to hold my tongue – the flip side is knowing when NOT to hold your tongue, which seems to be the challenge that you are facing. I agree with you completely – there are times when we MUST voice our opinions, times when we CANNOT be silent. I hope you find this balance in your life, and the freedom that comes with standing up for yourself and others when you need to. It takes a lot of courage to find this balance.

  8. The White Pumpkin

    July 30, 2012 at 07:26

    if only…

  9. thelastsongiheard

    July 30, 2012 at 08:08

    I love that photo!! 🙂

  10. Spider42

    July 30, 2012 at 10:04

    Interesting choice of topic – especially in the non-stop jabber filled age of information and sharing of everything that abounds.
    Life is what it is but I think few, if any, can appreciate the benefit and joy of a good bit of silence and tranquility just for it’s own sake – the need for that silence to get inside your own mind and to let your thoughts run free of all the things that occupy and distract.
    Ah well, c’est la vie…

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 15:14

      Oh yes, I have written about silence prior in this blog…. we forget how beautiful it is, and seem to even loathe it in today’s fast paced society.

      • Spider42

        July 31, 2012 at 09:35

        Too true sadly… But you quoted Josh Billings and I’m not familiar with this one from before but I remembered another silence related one by him that I’ve always liked:
        “Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.”

  11. saymber

    July 30, 2012 at 19:49

    As always it seems, I really understand and can relate to what you write here! ME TOO! Especially this comment: ” I struggle with holding my tongue because I am a communicator” and “In fact, my biggest pet peeve is when someone lies to me”,

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 23:27

      Yes, those are probably the two sentences that I connect with most out of all that I wrote. My partner and I are so upset when our kids lie – to us it is the worst sin they could commit.

  12. transitionscoachingcayman

    July 30, 2012 at 19:53

    I am with you there on every point you made in the post. But about listening vs the dreaded male trait of fixing, sometimes people don’t even want to be listened to, for fear that even a good listener may try to “fix” them.

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 23:28

      Wow, that is so very true! I have seen this happen many times!

  13. Sarah

    July 30, 2012 at 20:22

    “Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut!” Elisabeth Elliot

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 23:27

      I LOVE it – thank you!!! A great quote and reminder! 🙂

  14. impurlvisation

    July 30, 2012 at 21:18

    I am so impressed with your blog and the questions you struggle with. I started my blog to try to live truer, some handful of days till 50. Congratulations, and best of luck on your quest!

    • 400daystil40

      July 30, 2012 at 23:29

      Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement! I wish you the best on your life journey as well! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog 🙂


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