Tuesday, August 15, 2006

None of Your Business-Toya
This song is of course from the almighty Salt 'n Peppa. Not one of my favorite songs actually (I actually can't stand it) but I love them nonetheless. Salt was in Nashville not too long ago and even though we were in some of the same places, I never ran into her. I did however get to meet Play from Kid 'n Play though. I am so stuck in the 80's, it's a crying shame.

It has occurred to me in recent weeks that I spend way too much time in other people's business. It's not that I pry. It's just that people expect for me to have solutions and give wisdom. Okay, sometimes I do give unsolicited advice but I can’t help it. I am a natural motivator and problem solver. I’ve given advice and motivational speeches on the playground, in the girl's gym locker room, in my college dorm room after frat parties, etc, etc. However, I internalize other people's problems so much to the point of getting nauseous with worry and compassion. I will listen to sermons and read scriptures with others in mind, rarely thinking about how I need to apply these lessons to myself. This is not healthy. Unfortunately, I have also come to realize that I can sometimes secretly be a little critical and judgmental while giving out advice. There are some things that I have saved up to apply to other people’s problems that need to be applied to the plank in my very own eye.

I have tried my hardest to stay out of people's business and work on my own set of issues to the point of biting my lip until the point of bleeding. Bleeding! I can't believe how hard this is! I almost needed stitches one night while listening to Rachel talk about a guy she's been dating that she is not too sure about :

"Okay, now this is the thing: He's divorced"

*letting out a muffled "mmhmm" trying desperately for it to not sound like an emphatic, unapproving "uuuh uuuuuuh"

"And he already has three children"

*silently wincing in pain from my teeth piercing through the back of my lip"

"And he has had a vasectomy"

Soon after hearing my almost 40 year old childless friend confess this last bit of information, I found that I had chewed off a small part of my lip and was feeling slightly dizzy; not just from the taste of my own blood but also from the urge to shout out my opinion at the top of my lungs. I then vowed not to give my opinion unless asked and even then I was going to choose my words very carefully. When she finally asked, it was like pulling a drowning man out of the ocean within 8 seconds left of his life. Yeah, this is still a work in progress.

So lately, when listening to other people’s problems I have been doing a lot of nodding, "mmhmmming", and spitting back to them what they have told me. Some of my conversations have ended simply with a "I hate that you are going through this." This is UNHEARD of for me. It is my hope that in not volunteering unsolicited advice, that when finally asked I can give wisdom that comes more from "Thus saith the Lord" in a non-preachy kind of way and less from the Gospel of Toya and Her Mama. Sometimes it is just good to listen.

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