Why I’m Learning to Keep My Mouth Shut (and You Should Too!)

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Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Relationships, Things I've Learned, Thought | Posted on 08-24-2016

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Keep Your Mouth Shut![Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]

You know the old saying “Mind your own business”? More and more I believe this is the key to a happy life. Heck, it probably should be the slogan for all of humanity!

While I don’t talk a whole lot and try to mind my own business, I can’t tell you how many times a day I say “Just keep your mouth shut”to myself!

It wasn’t always this way.

I used to open my big mouth pretty much any time I saw or heard something I didn’t agree with, thought was dumb, or felt others needed to hear my way (the right one of course!) of seeing things.

I’m not gonna lie, I sometimes do still open my trap to make sure the people around me know what’s what. After all, I DO have all the answers! But more and more I remember to just keep it closed and move on.

Why is this important?

Because when I open my mouth to explain a better way, or to wonder why someone is wasting their time doing something that’s “not their job,” or when I want to tell someone how to do something so much more efficiently–all I’m doing is creating conflict.

When I keep my mouth shut and just let it go, the one who is–or rather seems to be–making me crazy is allowed to get on with their life and their business, and so am I.

It’s really about minding my own business.

It’s not my business if someone in my life takes an hour to do something that I know could be done in 5 minutes.

It’s not my business if someone in my life believes in something that sounds outrageous to me.

It’s not my business if someone in my life doesn’t care about their health.

It’s not my business if someone in my life is in a bad mood.

It’s not my business to make people feel better.

It’s not even my business if someone in my life is mad at ME.

And on and on it goes.

The only thing that is my business is taking care of myself.

Of my own body, mind and spirit.

That’s it.

Lest you think this sounds selfish–it’s not.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite of selfishness.

We cannot be helpful or of service to anyone unless our own house is in order. This doesn’t mean we should ignore everyone around us and not be supportive. It simply means that if we think we’re going to change others or worse–fix them, it’s only going to cause pain and suffering to them and us. Period.

I’ve learned that the best way for me to help others is to simply be.

Be a good example of calm accepting presence as much as I can.

Be there if and when they ask for help.

Be there to simply listen to them.

Be there to simply love them.

Let’s face it, we all have our ways of being and doing in life. Just because we believe our arbitrary made-up rules and conditions are the be all end all–they’re not. They’re just one person’s way. And even though it feels like it’s gonna kill us to watch others doing and being things we would never do or be, it doesn’t make them wrong.

And more than that, it’s none of our business!

Here’s my challenge for you (and myself!):

Start to pay attention throughout your day and notice when you feel the urge to tell someone how to do something or you feel the need to state your slightly (or greatly) differing opinion. Do you really, really, really need to say it? Or can you just walk away? You may have to bite your tongue a bit at first (I’ve got the blisters to prove it!) but it does get easier over time.

The important part is in the noticing. Even if you slip up and still “mix in,” the more you notice how much you do it, the more you’ll start to realize it’s not your business.

Good luck and let me know how it goes! I’m batting about 3 out of 4 when I can keep my mouth shut (probably worse when it comes to Facebook!). But I know I can do better.

How about you?

–Jill

P.S. Please read part 2 to this post here.

Prefer listening? Click the green arrow below!

CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.

Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill’s blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she’s learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many “viral” articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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My god. Your posts are so timely that sometimes it feels as if you are reading my mind! (Yes, I’m thinking about bacon right now).

My 40th birthday is coming up and I like to make New Year’s Resolutions on my birthday every year. It’s the real new year for everyone I think. Anyway, my big one this year is to shut my mouth! To mind my business! I’m realizing that so much of the conflict in my life can be avoided if I just let other people be. We blurt out so many things in this instant-gratification world that are unnecessary, or even counterproductive! Why? I’m examining that in myself at work and in my personal life.

So thank you for writing this. I’m so glad you are going through things that I’m going through too. 🙂 I accept your challenge, Jill! <3

Yay Jackie!

I suspect it’s not just us who sort of know they should mind their own business but just can’t help it.

Cool that you’re going to consciously give it a try. Please come back and let me know how it goes!

Great reminder !!!

Thanks Gayle!

congrats on all the views Jill! Someone once said as a differentiator, will this matter in a year? If it won’t maybe skip it.

Thanks Julie! Not sure I understand you’re point, however!

This message needs to be given to all the bullies!
Thank you for reminding me to take care of my business,
As when I don’t, I get distracted about the most important things in my own life.

Why the bullies, Marilou?

Hi Jill

Great point and this will be challenging but doable. I’m always talking, this was well needed thank you.

Thanks, Sabrina! It is doable. The next goal will be to not even be upset by those same things. I think that may be my next blog post.

Please because I really struggle with this one.

I think everyone does. The key is that you are ahead of the pack for even trying!