Why 'Mind Your Own Business' is Actually Good Advice
- Dr. David B. Hawkins The Marriage Recovery Center
- 2015 22 Dec
I was raised the middle child of five and as such there was always some kind of drama happening in the mix. To be fair, it seems like I was always somewhere to be found amidst the turmoil. Somehow—and it’s unclear to me how---I had my nose in other people’s business.
Whether fairly deserved or not, I remember either my older sister or younger sisters repeatedly saying to me, “Mind your own business.” At the time I took offense to the demand, but looking back, I now consider to have been good advice.
“Mind your own business!”
Recently I was again part of a larger family gathering and again there was family drama. This time I heeded the counsel given me years ago; I decided it was indeed wise for me to “Mind your own business.”
Consider what happens when we fail to follow this counsel.
- We make comments based on inaccurate or limited information;
- We form opinions and judgments based on that limited or inaccurate information;
- We form alliances that are likely to hurt others;
- We become embroiled in issues that are not our business;
- We are tempted to pass along hurtful information;
- We hurt feelings and may ultimately get our feelings hurt.
These are just a few of the ramifications of putting our noses into business that is really not ours to be involved in. While it may be scintillating to be involved in other’s business, we are likely to cause far more harm than good by doing so.
Extricating ourselves from other’s business may be easier said than done. Others may actually come to us to share business that is not ours. They may get excited in sharing the gossip. But again, ultimately damage will be done.
Scripture is clear about the dangers of gossip.
“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.” (Proverbs 20:19)
As we are in the middle of holidays where families join together and rumors abound, be especially wary of sharing in conversation that is likely to only hurt others. Consider these steps to establish healthy boundaries in guarding to “Mind your own business”:
First, resist the urge of joining in any form of gossip. When others come to you with gossip, make it clear that you prefer not to hear it. Let others know, both verbally and by your gestures, you prefer not to participate in hurtful gossip. Participate in conversation that only applies to you and is clearly part of your business;
Second, gently let others know you won’t engage in forming alliances. As you become aware of the alliances established through gossip, don’t engage. Maintain support for all parties. Smile and let the gossiper know that you won’t take sides and prefer not to hear anything further;
Third, refuse to pass along any information given to you about others. It is nearly impossible not to hear hurtful information. However, you can be firm about not passing along any of that information. You can choose to “forget” what has been told to you and not be unduly influenced by the information;
Fourth, spread only useful and encouraging information about others. Not only can you choose not to pass along hurtful information, you can choose to pass along positive and encouraging information. We are taught, “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building others up according to their need, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Finally, maintain good boundaries going forward. As you participate in extended family gatherings, guard against gossip. Be mindful of the conversation that is taking place and refuse to get “pulled into” gossip. Participate in only uplifting conversation and encourage the same. Follow the counsel given me by my sisters years ago to “Mind your own business.”
Practice the above strategies and let me know how they work for you. Please send responses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Publication date: December 22, 2015