Stop sharing

By Kalynn Brazeal

That moment when you find yourself knee-deep in a story — you have been there. You are admitting that things are rough right now and you notice that the person you are telling — well they seem to be very eager to know more. Nodding along and biting their lip in sympathy, but there is a gleam in their eye.
Whether you are visiting while in line at the post office or catching up with another parent in the stands at a ballgame, sometimes you venture into areas that go beyond acquaintance. This is the danger zone.
There will be people in your life that enjoy your problems.
It’s sad but true. While we can control the people we admit to our inner circle, there will always be people around us we didn’t chose. Let me throw you some examples not based on anyone in my family (I swear mom), but on things I have been told. The vaguely related family member that shows up every dinner because there is food. A friend of a close family member who is always included. How about some personalities? The single parent who is always too busy for their own good? The martyr who likes to highlight their suffering? Oh the list is long in length.
Not everyone wants the best for you. How hard is that concept to grasp? It took me years to realize that just because someone was around me didn’t mean they were vested in my well-being. How many times over the past years do I wish I could muzzle myself. Looking back, I could shake myself for times that I vented or expressed my frustration or anger with someone who was happy to listen to my problems. Oh younger me, how I wish you would have leaned on the Holy Spirit instead. He is fully vested in your well-being whereas so many people are not.
Worse than letting your loose lips give someone a chance to enjoy your suffering, you are also giving them a chance to plant seeds of doubt. Think of the people who are more than willing to give you advice. How often is it bold and wild? How often does it give your spirit pause? Do they give you advice to which is outside of your comfort zone? That could be someone enjoying their chance to sew some discord in your life.
Life is hard. Parenting is a challenge and it didn’t come with many instructions. Marriage is a journey that will change you. The worst thing you can do is to overshare about your parenting troubles or your marriage. There will be times when you need counsel, and going to a trusted elder is a great idea. This isn’t what I’m talking about.
I’m warning you about those times when you are flippantly harping or criticizing someone closest to you. Mad at your teenager? Frustrated with your spouse? “Lazy.” “Liar.” “Spoiled.” “Idiot.” Those moments will come and go in your life, but now that information is out there, it can usually be counted on to come back to light.
People love to find weak spots in any foundation and exploit that. Why? It’s human nature. Why should we guard the relationships closest to us? Because those are the people who mean the most to us. Those people are entrusted to our care. How we handle them at their worst or weakest speaks volumes about our character.
The next time you see that gleam in someone’s eye, that little spark that says they may be enjoying the drama that is currently surrounding you, stand a little taller. Look them straight in the eye and tell them that you need to go. Then if you really want to work on your character, go and tell the person you were oversharing about and ask them to forgive you. Ouch. It is really hard looking someone you respect and love in the face and admitting to carelessly sharing something causally. I had to do that one day. Hard, humbling or uncomfortable is a mild description, but frankly I’m glad they heard it from my mouth. And I learned to be very cautious with my sharing.

A former resident of Lava Hot Springs, Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion.  Now relocated to Oklahoma, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.