Say More by Saying Less
If you know me and read this title, you’re probably dying laughing. I never shut up and I don’t hold anything back most of the time. But, over the last 5 or 6 years I have started to realize that saying everything you feel all the time and letting people know exactly what you think too quickly usually leads to drama and hurt feelings, two things no one needs. Through my experience in pageants, philanthropy for domestic violence prevention, the music business, and hell (also known as retail pharmacy), I can pretty much navigate through any social situation and come out mostly unscathed. This has not always been the case, and trust me, it’s caused me a lot of heartache and emotional distress that really wasn’t necessary! In a world where everyone is constantly arguing politics and spouting off opinions left and right, it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to “be heard”. However, you can be heard in different ways and it doesn’t always require saying ANYTHING. It doesn’t always require yelling or showing your hand. Here’s a list of what I’ve learned. Maybe you will find it beneficial too.
1. Don’t overreact: Let’s face it, in retail pharmacy, you cannot make everyone happy. It wouldn’t matter what you did. I had a lady dislike me because I was “too pretty” to be a pharmacist one time. I also have people daily think I cannot do my job because I’m a younger female. They talk to me like I’m an idiot and I have to keep my mouth shut. This used to anger me and it still does. But, I’ve learned to handle it better over the years. If anyone is yelling or getting heated, the worst thing you can do is get heated too! It’s like pouring gas on a flame...you end up with a big fire that you cannot put out. Don’t react. Just speak in a non-emotional tone and validate their feelings and speak your peace in a non-combative way. Before engaging in any more conversation than is necessary, ask yourself, will this person actually be rational? Will they understand? And is it worth your energy? If there is a no to any of those questions, keep it short and move on as quickly as possible. This applies to every aspect of your life, relationships with family, co-workers, etc.
2. Let people form their own opinions: Everyone is going to form his or her own opinions and views based on upbringing, culture etc. People are also going to choose who they associate with and the behaviors they tolerate from others. I realize that when you’re passionate about something or have knowledge about certain subjects or people, you want to share that with people you care about. But, this doesn’t always work out in your favor. Let me give you an example: I have been friends with people before who start hanging out or talking to a new love interest or friend and I knew that wasn’t a good idea. Even as adults, we are still like kids in that anything we are told to stay away from, we automatically gravitate toward. Keep your mouth shut or choose your words wisely. The more you say, the worse it looks on you. Why? Because the other person is like why do you care so much? It’s not affecting you? Even if you have the right intentions and are 100% correct, there’s always the possibility that it could come back and slap you in the face. Instead of forcing opinions, try just finding common ground and go from there.
3. Create distance: I have been taught through the Bible and by my parents that judging people is wrong. But, does that mean you set yourself up to get hurt? No, I don’t think so. I believe we are to love one another and be cordial, but we don’t have to be BFFs with everyone, especially when certain people aren’t a great influence on you. Often times, we become friends with people, and they seem great at first. They’re fun, and you feel like you can tell them anything. But, as time goes on, people always show their true colors. You’ve probably been there before. You find yourself gossiping more or drinking too much when you’re around certain friends or you see some choices they make in their personal lives that confuse you or make you question their loyalty as a friend. I know you probably have the visual of someone in your head right now. So, how did you handle it? Did you stick around and just take it until you got hurt? Did you speak up? Or did you create distance? Sure, speaking up is fine in certain situations, and it’s sometimes necessary. But, if you see a side of someone you don’t like, is it really up to you to tell them who they can date or be friends with? Nope! What it can do is tell you more about them if you just step away and keep your mouth shut. This speaks volumes! It says to everyone that you’re not a shit starter, you have high standards, and it tells the other person that you do not condone his or owe actions. Guess what? You did that without even saying a word! And, it allowed you to save yourself some heartache and gain clarity. Sometimes we learn me when we step away and just watch.
4. Let them finish talking: I love to talk and if I’m passionate about something I want to jump into the conversation. If I’m in a heated discussion, I want to say something without letting the other person finish his or her thought! If I have my answer ready for a rude customer, I want to cut them off and let them know I’m right! We are ALL guilty of this and we’ve all done it. Now, did it benefit you? Maybe it did a few times, but I can honestly say for me, it didn’t more times than it did. Let people finish what they are saying! There are lots of reasons to do this. First off, you might just learn something from what the other person says. It gives you time to assess the situation and respond in a calm fashion. Most importantly, you are letting the other person know that what he or she is saying matters to you and that you have respect. Simply letting the other person talk deescalates situations and opens up lines of communication.
5. Don’t show all your cards: If there is one thing I hate more than anything, it’s when someone tries to name drop or over sell talent, assets, etc. This has become more prominent with the rise of social media, but people have been doing this for a very long time. All this does is scream insecurity! It says, I am not confident enough in my abilities or I’m jealous and have to one up people. I remember when I was first starting to pursue music, it didn’t always sit well with people in a small town. A few people come to mind who tried to start a music career too and try to “compete” with me and make me look bad. I was so young at the time, I let it get to me and I started acting as ridiculous as they did. Thankfully, after being around truly professional people for so long now and keeping my circle small, I realize that my talent speaks for itself when others hear my voice and soak in my lyrics. Everything I’ve accomplished in domestic violence prevention hasn’t been to earn bragging rights, it’s been to help others. I didn’t become a pharmacist to say hey look at me, I’m a pharmacist and you have to call me Dr. Nixon. I have learned to let people know Jessica first and then we can talk about the other stuff when the time is right. Bragging about your relationship or your career will not make it any better if in real life it sucks. Be humble and don’t show your hand. Not everyone is deserving to know every part of you. Pick and choose who you share things with. Learn to love yourself.
Well, I hope this was helpful. These are things I’m STILL WORKING ON as we speak. Happy 2019! Hope it’s amazing for everyone! Until next time.....