Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people having opinions about things. When people don’t have opinions they frequently cannot contribute to discussions, conversations, or offer others help.
The thing is, all too often people think their opinion is SO valuable that they HAVE to share. Even when a matter only impacts them indirectly, or when someone has made it clear they are just venting and don’t want an opinion.
This tends to turn really ugly really quickly. Simple discussions suddenly turn into diatribes and flame wars. The smallest offense gets blown up to surreal proportions, and people attack one another who might not otherwise engage.
This is why the lost art of shutting the f*#k up is so valuable.
“Opinions are like assholes — everybody has one.” — Various sources
It doesn’t matter what the topic on hand may be, likely you have an opinion about it. It might be a weak, detached opinion. Or it might be a really strong, very personal opinion.
There is a time and a place to spout your opinion. In certain instances, circumstances, and events, the time may be now. More often than not, though, the time to express your opinion isn’t now.
I cannot tell you how many times a friend has posted a rant about something going on in their life to Facebook, requesting that nobody reply with their opinion because they just want to vent. Do you know how frequently somebody opines when this happens? EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Fine, you can make the argument that Facebook may not be the place to rant if you don’t want the opinions of others. However, if like me your friends are scattered across the country, and calling each one up to communicate is utterly impractical, Facebook might be your best option.
Personally, when someone says they are just venting and don’t want my opinion — I don’t give it. Why? Because this is a perfect example of a time to shut the f*#k up. They don’t want my opinion, so why should I share it? Answer — I shouldn’t.
Quick digression — shutting the f*#k up is being applied here to both conversation and online communication. With the prevalence of the internet and social media networks, as well as text messaging, this is apropos.
“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.” — Emily Dickinson
Lots and lots of things are going on in the world every day. Some are personal among friends and family, while others are massively impersonal — like the insanity of the various governments and politicians out there.
A lot of the things that are going on, if they impact you at all, are totally indirect. They do not have an immediate impact on you, or they happened to another and you are aware, or they occurred among people you spend time with, or something else of this nature.
Frequently people share their outrage at these things. Not in a supportive, constructive manner, but in a ranty, look-at-me-I-have-something-to-say manner. They feel the need to clutter up social media with their snark, their opinions, their thoughts and feelings and actions, and whatever else they decide they need to spew.
I am not saying that you are not entitled to express your feelings as you see fit. However, what I AM saying is that maybe you should employ filters. Consider the impact of the words you are saying or writing. Question if your words contribute in a positive or a negative way.
Would it be better to just shut the f*#k up and be silent here?
A perfect example is Trump. He frequently takes to Twitter and spews out hate, ignorance, racism, narcissistic views, and various other unhelpful and hurtful things. His tantrums are not becoming of most adult human beings, let alone the President of the United States. He is the perfect example of someone that would be much better served by shutting the f*#k up.
In other words, what I am saying here is that it’s really important to think before you speak or type.
“You’re short on ears and long on mouth.” — John Wayne
One of the best reasons to practice the lost art of shutting the f*#k up is because when you stop talking you become capable of listening. More than just listening, you become capable of hearing what others are saying.
This, in turn, can help you see if your words are helping, hurting, calming, or fanning the flames of the world at large.
You may be surprised how much better it would be if you chose to say nothing. Does expressing your thoughts, your opinions, your wit and wisdom serve a good purpose, no purpose, or just to expand an already burning fire?
There are many things happening both personally and impersonally in my life right now. However, rather than get into it and vent or rant, I am shutting the f*#k up. Nobody has asked my opinion on any of these topics, so I am going to remain silent.
It takes very little to offend people nowadays. The simplest error, bad turn of phrase, intentional or unintentional remark can explode in your face with little to no prodding. This is another good reason to practice the lost art of shutting the f*#k up. When you don’t volunteer an unwanted thought or opinion you can’t give offense.
In summation, be mindful of what you are about to say or type. Whether you are ranting, opining, replying, or just speaking your peace, consider if you are adding value or potentially making a bad situation worse with what you are putting out there. This can help you see if you should speak out or shut the f*#k up.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, which is why it is good to know when to shut the f*#k up.