Zip the Lip

Sometimes It's Better to Breathe than to Speak

Wouldya keep your mouth shut?

One of the best things I’ve learned about how to make my day run smoother is to get some space between what my brain wants to sputter and what I know my mouth should speak. Ahhh. The one moment of waiting, taking a breath, asking myself, “Is this kind, helpful and necessary?” before I speak.

It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s one of the toughest things in the world. I have to pause and ask myself, “Does it have to be said? Does it have to be said by me? Does it have to be said now?”

Making the next chapter of my life the best chapter sometimes means a lot of quiet. Not vengeful quiet, not fuming “I’m going to show you” quiet, not quiet filled with scorn that is perversely satisfying. Just a smooth, still, serene quiet even when I want to scream.

That’s discipline. That’s harder for me than running 10 miles. That’s will-power. But that’s what keeps me happy and therefore, those around me happy.

Just for today I’ll practice taking a deep breath before I speak.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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