If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Hold your tongue. You catch more bees with honey – From childhood on, we are taught to silence words that are rude, express negativity or sting the recipient. We learn to speak only when we can do so kindly. That, after all, is the key to being a good little girl, a polite little boy and, in adulthood, a social butterfly. If we ooze kindness, everyone will like us; if not, they won’t. Right?
Uh, sure. You can believe that all you want, but the truth is eternal sweetness is eternally grating. If you have something to say, say it. There is nothing wrong with a little venting. In fact, it might actually save your life.
In a poll of 4,000 men and women, researchers found that 32 percent of men and 23 percent of women regularly bottled their feelings. For the men, the habit didn’t seem to cause any long-term problems, bur for the women, it was deadly. They were four times more likely to die during the ten-year study than those who openly aired their thoughts. The self-silencing was, legitimately, killing them. And if it didn’t knock them into an early grave, it was, at least, increasing their risk of depression, an eating disorder, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome and other physical/psychological conditions. The lesson? Sometimes, you have to spew. You cannot put your fears and the feelings of others ahead of your own health. Don’t worry that your complaints, thoughts, ideas or emotions will elicit negative reactions. Worry that your silence will result in poor health, both mental and physical. Open your mouth, but make sure you do so wisely.
As important as it is to verbalize, it’s just as important that you do so constructively. If you constantly voice a negative opinion about every nuisance you encounter, you will become just as irritating as the sickly sweet persona you left behind. You need to think about your words. When are you speaking simply to speak and when are you doing so to better a situation? Your grievances should be used to achieve a goal or get something off your chest that has been weighing heavily on you. They should not be used to fill a silence. Listen to yourself. Understand your needs. Don’t permanently seal your mouth, but don’t endlessly release hot air either. The perfect balance of words and silence will balance your health, socially, mentally and physically.