Despite my new found, post-cancer ability to Believe in Myself and Stand My Ground, it's an ongoing struggle to adhere to one of the most important social skills I ever learned - keeping my mouth shut.
My dad taught me this very important lesson. He told me that sometimes it was better to keep you mouth shut, so as not to "dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole". As a well-respected teacher, OSSTF negotiator and union representative, parent, friend, uncle, son, husband and father, my dad earned a reputation for being an excellent listener. He also earned a reputation for being a terrifying, intimidating, hard-to-please man. All of these qualities (each of which I admire), I attribute to his unwavering ability to say very little. When he did speak, he said something meaningful, interesting and intelligent.
My dad passed away eight short/long years ago, and I admit, I still haven't mastered his ability to speak carefully. I often regret what I say, and I still keep my mouth shut when I should speak my mind. I long for the day when I can speak my mind with confidence and ease, but remain silent and listen when my thoughts and opinions are irrelevant.
Whenever in doubt, I wonder "WWDD" (What Would Dad Do). I know that no matter how perfectly he seemed to have mastered this trait, he must have struggled throughout his 57 years as I often as I do now. He must have known that there's only one thing worse than not knowing when to keep your mouth shut - beating yourself up over it for days after.
As I continue to master this skill of silence vs. expression, I'll err on the side of caution and STFU instead.