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“I don’t say anything, but …” It is likely that on more than one occasion you have heard this phrase or have even said it. It is, apparently, “respectful”. But it automatically puts us on the defensive because deep down we know that the words behind it are unnecessary and likely to cause harm.
The compulsion to share our opinions
We have an opinion for everything. We are established opinionists. And there is nothing wrong with it. It is important that we form our own judgments about what happens. And that we come to our conclusions.
However, the problem begins when we experience a real compulsion to share our views with others. For saying what we think. Comment – often without knowledge of the cause. And also for criticizing and judging.
That trend can make us become kamikazes of the truth and commit real sincericides. Behind a sincericide is not a healthy attachment to the truth, but an egocentric position in which we do not take into account the impact of our words on the others.
Sincericide often hides an inability to be empathetic. In fact, one of the favorite phrases of the sincericidas is: “I tell you taht because I would like to be told it.” This shows that this person decides and acts from his coordinates, regardless of what the other wants or needs.
It is better if I say nothing, but …
There is a very subtle line between expressing what we think and falling into intellectual vandalism. Between helping a person by pointing out his mistakes and crushing him even more under the weight of them. Between helping him find a solution and leaving him trapped with a problem.
When we start a sentence with the words “It is better if I say nothing, but …” we know deep down that it would be better to keep silent about what we are about to say. In fact, that person probably already knows what we are going to say and our words simply become more salt over a suppurating wound.
In other cases, those words do not serve to find a solution, but only aggravate the conflict, deepen the gap and mark the distance with the other, probably at a time when that person needs validation and support, not criticism and judgments.
Recognizing that we shouldn’t say anything is also a way of apologizing for what we are about to say, because we know that those words have no reason to exist, or at least not at that time and place.
Therefore, the next time we are about to start a sentence with the words “It is better if I say nothing”, perhaps it would be better if we did not say anything. Or that we at least stop to reflect on the impact that can have what we are about to say.
The 3 filters we should use before speaking
1. Opinions are not facts. Our opinions may be based on fact, no doubt, but they are also often intertwined with gut reactions, emotions, expectations, and experiences. This means that we should not confuse them with “truth” and, above all, that we should not believe that we are possessors of an “absolute truth”. When we believe that we have the truth, we act arrogantly. And that is not the best attitude to build bridges towards the other.
2. Frustration is not evaluation. Many of the things that happen to us can cause frustration when they do not meet our expectations, especially when other people do not follow the pattern we had in mind. However, not getting what we want is not justification for evaluating something negatively or in derogatory terms. The fact that we feel annoyed is not an excuse to discharge that frustration on others because our opinion will not be objective.
3. Wanting is not needing. Is what we are about to say something we “want” to say or something that the other person needs to hear or that we need to say? The difference is abysmal. There are hard or uncomfortable truths that, however, must be said so that they do not become uneasy. But there are opinions that do not contribute anything and that can even cause harm.