There are times--often, many times--when we are just bursting to speak. We want to tell folks what we think, why we think it, why our opinion/advice/insight has merit, and what they should be doing/thinking/feeling/considering. Does that about cover it? Yes, I think so, but what really needs to be covered is our mouths!
Yep! It's difficult. Re-e-e-eally difficult. But, unasked for information, insight or evaluation is simply that: unasked for. Whether we approve of another person's expression, action, words, or the fact that they are breathing is truly immaterial in the grand scheme of things. Yet, so many folks think that it is a "right" when involved in a significant relationship. What they are doing is their choice and they will reap the consequences of those choices. Does it affect us? Perhaps. Some things can be overlooked. Others can be tolerated. Others are simply toxic to us. That's why it is wise to get relationship help early.
Sometimes there are people who come into our lives who we know quite quickly are best shown the door. We know it in our gut, but for many folks, they question it. They revisit it. They ask others what they think. They simply don't seem to believe that they are entitled to spend their time on this planet with people who are kind, respectful, honest and collaborative. If we have folks who don't meet that criteria lurking in our lives, that's up to us to take care of. We can have all the respect in the world for another person's choices--and I hope we do--but we don't have to let them settle in our backyards.
Yes, we often are wise to give a person a second chance to make a first impression. Maybe one of us was just having a bad day! But, when a pattern emerges that puts your teeth on edge, you are confronted with two significant questions:
- Can you keep your mouth shut?
- Can you keep the door open to show them out?
We need to keep our mouths shut. Just observe. People will never fail to show you who they are by what they do and say. AND, in all cases, believe what they do over what they say. Folks often make a big fuss over saying the right thing...and then just doing what they want. They show you who they are by what they do. That will always be the case. Maya Angelou reminds us: "When folks show you who they are, believe them." That might be a big step for some right there. Why? Because we want them to be different. In fact, we often feel we can MAKE them different. NO! Believe them and decide what's best for you and take action. They don't need to hear your assessment of them. Vote with your feet and your time. Walk away. Invest your time wisely.
Sometimes we allow folks to overstay their welcome in our lives. That's when we need relationship help. Women particularly think they can nurture other people into "playing nicely." Unless they are your children and they are under the age of eighteen, you are not there to nurture, change, enlighten, rescue, advise, fix or set anyone straight. We are there to observe their behavior and see if we want them in our sandbox. If they play nicely with others, "Y'all come!" If they cause havoc, create chaos, and suck all the air out of the area, you might want to put a boundary in place. That's what emotional grown-ups do!