short stories

Silence can be the loudest words spoken

I believe this is a post that is as much for me as anyone in the world. I have a bad habit of speaking more than I listen. I also have a problem with letting words spill out of my mouth before I have a chance to allow my brain to check what ramifications may befall me because of the words I speak. I have always used a saying that states, “If you don’t want the answer, don’t ask me.” Part of this is because I speak with complete honesty when at all possible. This, in many cases, can hurt the feelings of those who ask my opinion. The other part is that I speak out how I feel very quickly, not worrying about those around me. This, in some cases, can be called “diarrhea of the mouth.”

Although many who know me think highly of me because of my honesty, others wish I would keep my mouth shut. In this day and age, people are offended by every little thing that they do not feel is a compliment to them. This causes me (and many like me) to use our words carefully so as not to offend others. Someone like me, who loves to talk and believes that honesty is the best policy, can cause very adverse conditions. 

I was raised in a time when it was fine to speak your opinion to those who were your age or younger than you. However, when speaking with someone who is your senior, you must only give your opinion when asked for it. For the most part, this worked well in the ’70s, ’80s, and even the first part of the ’90s. However, this way started to fall apart in the mid-’90s up to this day. What changed?  The changes began when people stopped teaching their children to listen to their elders. Instead, they are now taught to speak up when they feel like it, no matter what their age is. This has its good parts as well as its bad parts. First off, it does give each individual a voice in society. This is considered a good thing. The second part is where the problem lies. When we no longer teach our children to hold their tongues when speaking with an adult, we have the respect taken out of society, and we create a world where anything and everything offends someone. So, even though we were not living in a perfect society during the time that I grew up, I can say that we used more respect and were less offended than those people being raised today.

I am now in my fifties and find myself gaining ground on the older generation. I also find myself in a society that no longer believes in the teachings that I grew up with. Although I try to speak the truth, few wish to listen, and of those few, half become offended by what I have to say. So, how shall I speak without offending others around me? This is something that I have pondered over for a long time now. I believe there are two ways to solve this dilemma, and I shall try to explain each in the following paragraphs.

Mule deer with its ears forward to listen
Listen up

It is wise to listen twice as much as to talk. Twice may also grow to three, four, or many more times depending upon the situation and people with whom you are associating at any given time. Although this may sound crazy to most people in today’s world, it works quite well. Those who speak as much as or more than they listen miss out on many valuable lessons in life. When you are speaking, it is very hard to listen. Furthermore, those who speak too much tend to ramble and lose any authority they may have gained. There is a time to speak and a time to listen. The time to listen must outweigh the time to speak by no less a margin than 2:1. This is a wise way to live.

With the last paragraph being in complete truth, it does cause a problem for people like me. I love to talk and find myself rambling after a while. I don’t take the time to think before I speak. For the most part, this works well for me. However, during a heated discussion, my words do not come out as I wish them to (I start rambling). Now I find that all the information and truths that I wish to share have become no more than a garbled mess of words that make up a bunch of nonsense. This has caused me grief in many instances. I must find a way to put forth what I wish to say in a way that others can understand and respect.

It took me more years than I wish to admit to come up with a way to fix this problem I have. Then, two years ago, it hit me in a way I had never thought of. I found that when I write, I get very quiet and allow my mind to work out how to put forth the words I wish to use. Not only did it help me get my point across on any given subject, but I could go back and fix any wording mistakes before someone could read what I had written. My voice became my printed word, no longer just a bunch of hot air! I don’t have to take back what I said to spare someone’s feelings because I can fix it before it goes out to the public. I can now read my thoughts and decide whether to allow someone else to read them. This works very well for me.

If you were to meet me and have a spoken conversation with me, you would find a different person than the writer you see before you. I am the same, and yet I am two different people all rolled into one. Although both sides of me think the same, have the same beliefs, and are honest about them, one is well-written while the other can be overpowering with words.

The adage says, “If only I knew then what I know now.” There is a lot of truth in this, and as we get older, we all find this to be true. I hope that if one day we speak face-to-face, you will remember me more by my writing than by my spoken words. There are many ways to speak without using your voice box or that big hole in your face. Sometimes, silence can be the loudest!

I hope that in some way I have helped those like me find ways to express themselves by listening more than speaking. If speaking is your main issue (as it is mine), may you find different ways to use speech other than having diarrhea of the mouth? Take care, my friends. Remember, we are all in this together.

Some people Have to say something / Others have Something to Say!!!

Does the title of this post mean anything to you? Are you talking just to hear yourself or are you using knowledge and wisdom to teach others lessons you have learned? What are their reactions to what you are telling them? Are they showing interest, anger, boredom or amusement to the words flowing so frequently from that hole in your face? I hope if it’s amusement, you are telling a good joke. These are some hard questions to ask one’s self. These are also questions that must be asked and answered if you want to improve who you are as well as what others think of you. What you share using your words can make or break the conversation you are engaging in. These words can and usually will help the other person or persons decide what your credibility is with the subject matter at hand. The person patiently listening to the conversation between the others and not interrupting usually looks like the most intelligent person in the room. Remember the saying, “two ears and one mouth”. In other words, we need to listen twice as much as we talk to ever become a wise person.

I am just now learning to take this advice to heart and the more I do, the more I believe this is truth. I myself, like many others, love to talk and find it difficult to listen to others without putting in my two cents. These are  terrible habits and ones that I am working through day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. I challenge you to take part in this quest with me and see where it might take us together.

Umpire watches game

Here is a good test that shows how well we are listening. If you are arguing with the people on your television set, you want or need to hear your thoughts and are now missing the rest of the story through your own voice. Ladies, don’t tell me I’m crazy when you are involved in a conversation with the people you are watching like them rich housewives in whatever city they are in this season and Men, you are yelling at the refs during a sporting event all on the big box sitting on a stand in your living room! I am guilty of the second one. Guess what? It’s on television and they can’t hear you through the glass!

Let’s put this on the other person and away from us for a minute. If you are at the movies and someone is always talking during the movie, it’s hard to pay attention isn’t it? How about somebody asking what just happened and by the time you get through explaining what happened, you just missed the next scene and now you too are lost. I think this is why a very smart person invented the pause button for us to use at home but when watching on the big screen at the theater, you’re not able to pause. If you miss something, you either have to pay and watch it again or wait until it comes out on DVD so you can buy it and pause it at home. This of course is a win win for the movie industry but we just spent more than we originally anticipated. Our conversation can and will affect those around you as well as showing what kind of person you are.

Man reading a book

It’s easy to see a person’s point of view by reading their thoughts they have written down but to learn someone’s view on things in conversation can and is quite difficult for most. Everyone has their own thoughts and points of view on everything we deal with in our lives day to day. Parents all have their own thoughts on how parenting should be done. Once you have passed your driver’s exam, you will put your own methods into play while driving. These are just two examples of the millions that could be put forth for this discussion. What I’m trying to say is we all have our own unique way of doing things that suits us and makes us comfortable in what we are doing. We also have a hard time understanding how others get by without using these same techniques we have proven to work for us.

Here’s the thing, being comfortable is not always the best way of achieving any task, but getting outside our comfort zone puts us into what we feel may be a danger zone and we show this in our everyday conversations. Someone may bring up a topic of how driving should be done and if they wear a badge, we will listen. Talking with the policeman that has just pulled you over commands a certain amount of attention paid without the argument you would rather use. Start to tell the officer how wrong they are and you will most assuredly end up with a big fat ticket to pay. However, talking about driving with your buddies and everyone in your group is an expert and none of you drive the same way.

Alas, telling another parent what they are doing wrong, may get you a fat lip unless you are a specialist in the field of parenting and the parents have made an appointment to see you in your office. I do believe that specialist in the parenting field should be parents themselves. Becoming a parent is one thing that can’t be taught unless you have been a parent yourself ( I will always stand by this ).

Ask yourself if you are talking just to be part of the conversation or do I have a true insight that I have learned and feel it is important enough to speak up and show my knowledge and wisdom of the subject being discussed. Listening without interrupting is a talent that few of us have accomplished in our lives. I am not part of those special few but I’m working on it. Another part that is hard to learn is dealing with someone whom believes they know everything. (We all know one of these people, heck, you may be one of them ). Even if you are the expert in the subject, sometimes it’s better to be quiet and let the other person ramble on. Dealing with people like these can just turn into a huge argument if you show where they are wrong. ( You can always go home and laugh about what they said later! ) If you happen to be one of those that knows everything about everything just remember this quote; “It is better to be thought of a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt“. These people that you just showed all your knowledge to, are going home for a good laugh if you are full of dung.

Four men having a conversation

So when should we speak up and when should we keep our mouth shut, listen and maybe learn something? This is the quest I have been learning and inviting you to join in. Talking with your friends and just having a good time is great but if you are a baker at trade and know nothing about cars, telling an auto mechanic what to do if the transmission goes out…well, that’s just dumb! Same as the mechanic telling you ( the baker ) how to make a seven layer wedding cake. Where does your expertise lie? All of us have our special talents but none of us know everything! The ones that truly know the most, are those that can listen and not interrupt when spoken to. These special people have a grasp on many talents and not just one or maybe a couple as most of us do.

I am putting all of this in print, not to tell you your business but so maybe I can learn from some of you who have learned about these issues or are like me and are just now trying to learn this wisdom. As you read these words, ask yourself where you stand with this. If you can, help me and others learn the best way to know when to speak up and when to shut up, please share. This maybe a simple task for you but for most of us, it is a great mystery and learning curve that needs to be solved. I am all ears at this time and am really looking forward to your comments and advice. Thank you in advance and as always Remember, we are all in this together.

Pay attention! Your inside voice is trying to help

Do you pay attention to that little voice inside you when it comes to making decisions? I have learned to do just that and it has saved me more times then I can count. Everyone has that little voice but most decide not to pay attention to it. “Am I just over thinking this situation or is my inner voice speaking up?” That is the question that usually comes to mind.

Some believe this to be unrealistic (even crazy) or that it is just an old wives tale. I can put to rest the second part with a simple question. When was that inner voice ever wrong? Once you decide to follow that voice, that’s when you have learned that voice speaks truth always and the wives tale no longer holds true. The first part is going to get a little tricky. Everyone has heard or seen a cartoon showing the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Living through life is a constant battle between good and evil but it is up to us to choose which shoulder to lean on. If it brings joy, it is good and if it brings destruction, then it’s bad. Simple enough to understand right? Well if it is so simple, then why are there so many bad people out there? We are born as clean spirits with pure souls who have yet to learn what evil is.

Don’t judge just yet, stay with me, I’m still talking about that inner voice. I’m just going about it in a round about way for your entertainment and to get you to really think about this. Your true inner voice will never tell you to do anything bad. You heard me right, it’s always a helpful tool not a destructive one. If you feel your inner voice is telling you to do something that is not of good value, then that is your brain leaning to the dark side and not your true inner self.

Girl dressed as angel and boy dressed as devil
Choose your side. No gray areas….

There are no shades of gray. You are either working on the good side or the bad. If you feel like you are working in the gray, then you are on the bad side of things and convincing yourself that it’s okay. Your inner voice doesn’t work on the bad side. It will never lead you astray. Once you come to this realization, then it is easier to hear that inner voice. The problem most people have is figuring out if that is their inner voice or if it is their imagination at work. A simple way to test this is with small attempts of following the voice you hear. If it is your inner voice, all things will go right while following it’s advice. If this is not your inner voice, there will be problems while following it.

This is a hard lesson to learn for most because the world has taught us to listen only with our physical ears and not pay attention to our spiritual ones. However, if you will listen within, you will learn more than you ever will with those funny looking things on the side of your head. Just a reminder to those that haven’t heard me say this before; you are a spirit, you have a soul and you are incased within a physical body. Your inner voice is your spirit guiding you in a physical world. This is what your maker gifted you upon being conceived. It is truly a gift and will work wonders for you, if you will only pay attention.

You must take baby steps until you know that voice is your true inner voice (spirit) speaking. Once you are able to distinguish what your inner voice sounds like, it will be unmistakable and you can follow it with the certainty that it will not lead you astray. There is much more to this that I’m not getting to right now but if you would like to hear more about this, I would be happy to talk to you about it. You can email me at (if you wish to be anonymous) or leave a reply to this post for others to read. I wish each and every one of you the best in finding this inner self. God Bless and Remember, we are all in this together.

Listen to your elders

     It’s funny and sad how we think about the well-being of others but don’t take better care of ourselves. Why is this? I am guilty of this myself. I catch myself looking for a reason to help others and in the same turn, I am horrible about taking care of myself. 

I have a hypotheses about this phenomenon.  First, we never think it will happen to us. We look at someone that is homeless, and we want to help them by giving food, money, clothing, a job or whatever else we may have to offer. Now I’m not saying to not help others because we absolutely should! But what about us? Why do we eat and drink things we know will hurt us, or do things that may leave us broke or broken? Fun, pleasure, pressure, stress or something else?

I believe we truly believe we are indestructible until we aren’t.  I am very guilty of this. When someone says that I need to take better care of myself, my first thought is to look at what’s wrong in their life. This is a poor way of thinking, and I believe it is this attitude that is hurting all of us. Some people get the worst of it and become homeless, in the hospital, or even die from something that was easily avoidable.

Sometimes things just happen, but most of the time it’s our own stupid mistakes.  Nobody is perfect, but I believe we can do much better. Think of when you became a teenager, and you knew everything.  Mom and Dad were morons, and the old man at the corner was just crazy when they try to tell you something about life.

Now for those that have teenagers, (God be with you) are you catching yourself in the same position as your Mom and Dad were? Why is it technology gets so much better but we as a society keep making the same mistakes? Maybe if we were to lend an ear to our elders and pay a little more attention (in some cases, A lot more attention) we would evolve as a society like technology keeps evolving?

Middle aged lady leaning over talking to an elderly lady sitting in a wheelchair

If you think I’m wrong, that’s okay, I’ve been wrong many times. But I believe I have hit on something, and I am trying to follow my own advice.  I’m taking better care of myself and listening to others (especially my elders) more. I have been learning a lot, and I’m feeling better both physically and mentally. Take care and remember, we are all in this together.