Choosing to say nothing is a remarkably freeing choice.

I am very grateful that I eventually learned I didn’t have to respond to every thing that was said.  Or even any thing that was said.  The decision to say nothing, regardless of the inclination to be engaged, was a mere thought away.  I only wish I had learned it sooner.  Fortunately I did learn it before my father died.  The last few years of his life were far more peaceful for both of us.  His ways didn’t change very much and that didn’t matter.  Mine did and it only takes one to “quit the dance” for it to end.

Not having to respond to the behavior of others, any of the behavior, is remarkably freeing.  A huge burden is lifted every time we choose silence.  Celebrating our powerlessness over others is a learned choice.  At least it was for me.  My natural inclination had always been to strike back. The true blessing in this choice is that it empowers us.  Doing nothing empowers us!  I was immensely surprised to discover this.

As I’ve heard so many times in Al-Anon, there are two kinds of business; “my” business and none of “my” business.  Choosing which is yours to attend to, and limiting your choice to only that one, changes how every minute feels. Not having to wonder about getting involved releases the tension that so commonly accompanies us on our journey.  What great shorthand this is for living one day, one minute at a time.

Have you ever practiced making this choice between the two kinds of business?  I try to do it every day.  It’s truly a simple question and the answer is always quite obvious.  For instance, if your friend calls, angry over some thing that happened to her on the job or even with her spouse at home, you don’t have to make it your business to tell her what she should do.  Listening, being a witness to her pain, is all that’s ever “required.”  And it’s not even required, of course, but having a friend to listen to our woes, as long as we don’t dwell on them and live encumbered by them for days on end, is helpful and kind.

Another good example is choosing to take a back seat, and remaining quiet, rather than taking sides in an argument between friends.  Even if one or other of the friends wants to engage us in taking their side in the disagreement, wisdom dictates silence.  We will not help them or ourselves by picking the “right” solution to a disagreement that is clearly none of our business.

I’d like for you to take a few moments now to think about the most recent times you got involved in the business of others.    How did it make you feel? 


  1. I just wanted to tell you again this article really inspired me. I thought about it today and was thinking about some stuff that was not business that I needed to detach about. I got out my journal and made to columns, Gods~other’s business on one side, my business on the other. I realized other people have a lot of…but I really don’t have too much. Just my home, taking care of myself( working my program, exercising, eating right, reading and continuing to evolve, and lastly my peace and serenity), the two other things I added was the way I feel and how I act and react in my relationships. Perhaps, there is something important I have forgotten. It is so freeing though, to know I don’t really have anyone to answer to and noone really has to answer to me…Today, my life is a celebration and I’m blessed to have my program, a new sponsor(yay) and people like you to share your wisdom, so I can live more consciously.Thank you Karen

  2. Very nice and well timed Karen;) I’m going to practice this 😉 thankyou

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