30 Days to Taming Your Tongue - What you say (and don't say) will improve your relationships by Deborah Smith Pegues
Day Fifteen - The Know-It-All Tongue
A prudent man conceals knowledge - Proverbs 12:23
Are you so all-knowing that you cannot refrain from giving unsolicited input? Do you have an unusually high regard for your opinion? Do you regularly use the expression, "You should...?" Please allow me to gently remind you that most emotionally healthy people will resent someone who always assumes he knows what is best for them. We must give people the benefit of the doubt in pursuing an independent course of action. Even if you feel you have earned the right to speak into someone's life or to give unsolicited advice, proceed with caution. "Have you ever considered...?" sounds a lot less controlling and will be more welcomed -- especially by men -- than "You should..." Married women, take heed! Real men aren't looking for a mother.
Even if you have knowledge and insight into a certain situation, sometimes it's prudent to keep silent and give another the joy and fulfillment of explaining it to you. Wise people don't make a show of their knowledge - Proverbs 12:23 Assuming the role of the arrogant expert on almost every topic is a sure indication of pride, which is repulsive behavior to God and man.
How do you let go of that know-it-all tongue? You can start by letting someone share information with you that you already know -- without letting him know that you know it. This can be great training in humility and emotional maturity.
Even if you are brilliant but humble, your mere presence may cause those with low self-esteem to feel inferior. Certainly, then, displaying intellectual superiority will alienate others. Some people may look for areas of weakness to "cut you down to size."
If you tend to be a know-it-all, maybe you need to do a little honest introspection. Is your display of knowledge a smoke screen for insecurity? Are you craving attention or appreciation because you are not getting it from the source you desire? When interacting with a group, you might want to actively listen to others, ask for their ideas, resist correcting or contradicting anybody, and limit your input to only one or two points. Your interpersonal relationships will improve when people feel that interacting with you has been a mutual sharing of ideas.
I am prudent and therefore do not flaunt my knowledge.
This was a very timely devotion. I needed to hear this. I've been told many times in my life that I don't always have to be right and I don't know everything. I've also been told, recently, that it's hard to carry on a conversation with me because I'm constantly interrupting and "already know" what the other person will say. I look forward to practicing listening more, asking for their ideas and stop interrupting, correcting or contradicting what they share. I want my interpersonal relationships to improve, I want people to feel comfortable around me and feel as if we've had a mutual sharing of ideas.