“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” I can still hear my mother saying that to me even though decades have passed since I last heard her voice. It is still good advice today, for you and for me both. Yet for some reason we seem to have the need to fill the space with words when silence would be so much more powerful and effective.
There was a time in my life when I could respond to any comment with a vicious reply; vicious but (to my mind) witty. To the recipient of my sharp tongue it was anything but witty, it was painful. I recognize now that what I was doing with these retorts was protecting myself; protecting myself from what I can no longer say, but I knew if I got the last word in I was the winner. The truth is I won nothing, in fact I lost every time in terms of friendships, trust and even once or twice a job. Listen to your own words, do you hear what you are saying to others, I mean really hear? “Oh, but what I said was the truth” may be your rejoinder, but often the truth has so many aspects we could say the same thing in much different words. There is an old saying “oh lord, please let my words be sweet and tender today, I may have to eat them tomorrow.” Let that one rattle around in the brain pan a little and see if it resonates with you. If you had to eat your words of today how would they taste? Now we are back to the basic idea: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. Great words to live by. No matter what you have to share with another person there is a way to be honest without being mean.