Do You Hold Your Tongue?

Hat (Katydid Collection) 

Do you ever have the feeling that no matter what you say it will be the wrong thing? This happens to me regularly.  If you say the thing that you really feel, you know that it will cause harm and make the situation worse.  If you try to sugar coat something, it will come out sounding fake or your point won’t be made. If you say what you think the other person wants to hear, you will eat yourself up inside for not saying how you really feel. There have been many times in my life when I know that I have to have a conversation with someone or I know that some situation is going to come where I have to speak up, and I struggle with what to say.  I spend many nights lying awake going over in my head what I really want to say.  I rehearse it over and over in my mind. Then the moment comes and none of what I have rehearsed is what comes out of my mouth.  Sometimes I sound like a blubbering idiot. Sometimes I dance around the real issue and try to lead the person to come to the conclusion on his or her own, but that rarely works in my favor.  I again beat myself up for not saying what I really wanted to say, and I go over the conversation in my head repeatedly and think of all the things I should have said.  Then there are those unplanned situations where something comes out of the blue that you weren’t expecting and you are so thrown off by it that the right words don’t come.  Sometimes there is no way to win.  You are going to lose. Are you going to lose by letting out your true feelings or are you going to lose because you held back? 

It is so hard to determine the right move.  There is one situation in my life where I, feel strongly about something. However, I am afraid to speak the truth.  I am afraid of the consequence.  I am afraid of how the person will handle it. My conclusion is like that line from Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth,” so I continue to dance around it.  I continue to keep my mouth shut tight.  Is that the right move? I honestly don’t know. I do know that harm is coming from not speaking up, but I also know the harm that will come from speaking the truth. Both are equally detrimental, so how do you know which one is best? It is like putting two piles of poop on a scale to see which one weighs more. Maybe one is slightly heavier, but they are both still piles of poop. You can’t win with either of them. (Sorry, I know that’s gross but it’s the best way I can describe it.)  In this situation, maybe you choose the lighter one because it is slightly easier to deal with, but the heavier one is still there.  It’s still wrong.  They are both wrong. No matter which you choose, you will feel the repercussions.

Recently I had another situation where someone asked me a question, and I gave an honest answer.  That answer didn’t get the best of reactions.  I then second guessed myself and tried to back track to make the situation better.  I am uncomfortable with the uncomfortable.  I tend to lean towards sugar coating and holding back.  That is what is easy.  It is what keeps the peace. We shouldn’t always do what is easy, though.  Bottling up your feelings is not the way to go.  It is important to be honest and speak to how you feel when the time is right.  Otherwise it will eat you up and cause more damage.  Yes, it may be uncomfortable for a short while, but it will be better in the long run. 

Our tongues are quite the evil body part.  The words that come from them can be so hurtful and damaging even if the intent behind them comes from a place of love.  While we do need to choose our words carefully, we also need to use them to speak the truth. The challenge comes when you have to decide when to hold back and when to push forward. Only you can determine what the best course of action is and what the person you are speaking to can handle. We have been taught our whole lives that honesty is the best policy. The majority of the time this is true, but sometimes it really isn’t. It is up to you to determine when it is and when it’s not.  It is really difficult.  I always think that it is best to try to speak from your heart and pray that the right words will come. That’s really all you can do.


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