Some of us were fortunate to grow up with formative direction in our lives. Having moved around the country while I was growing up, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for extended family to have a significant impact on my life. Thankfully, my mom seemed to have a steady stream of advice and wisdom she dished out.
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
That was part of the character development that I was fortunate to be raised with.
Now many of us have heard this at some point in our lives. Have you taken it to heart? It has way more significance than what I thought it meant growing up.
I thought initially it was to do with my sisters and my brother and what I said about them. You know, that tattling that all siblings do, growing up.
Choose Another Path with…
Strength, Dignity and Grace
Let’s see how this plays out in living a life with strength, dignity and grace.
In the workplace, do you participate in gossip? Of course not, not even that little comment like, “Did you hear about So-and-So; they’re having marital problems.” You would never let something like that pass your lips. Or, “I feel so sorry for You-know-Who; they are going through so much right now; they are going to lose their house.”
How about when you meet someone for coffee, and mention that “My neighbor’s lawn is looking horrible; it must be because they still haven’t recovered from their surgery.”
Here is where both strength and dignity come into play. Don’t say those things, no matter how “well meaning” your intentions.
They are NEGATIVE! Are they really nice? No way!
It truly takes strength of character not to gossip. The sooner you change your behavior, the sooner it becomes part of who you are. Begin with, just don’t do it.
Do you complain about the weather, the economy, politics, the price of gas? Is that nice conversation? I know; you’re thinking, really Deanna? So, what am I supposed to talk about? Things that are not downers, find nice things instead.
Is it kind of Pollyanna-ish? You bet! Just see how much more enjoyable your interactions are. And this doesn’t apply to women only; this applies to everyone.
The dignity comes into play with the whole negative talk. Not participating in the response to comments. Be a step above what others are doing. It’s not being an elitist; it’s being someone who others want to spend time with.
If other people around you are saying, not nice things, forgive them. That’s the grace part. Unfortunately, we’ve all done this. You’re in the middle of talking with a friend, and before you know it; something slips out. You get caught up in the conversation, you say something, and without it being super awkward, you keep going with the thread of the conversation.
Forgive yourself. When I’ve done that, I shoot up what I call an “arrow prayer” for forgiveness, and then one for strength to turn away from that kind of behavior.
Speaking Well of Others Makes Your Life Better
I’ll be the first one to tell you, this whole, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” concept is tough. I’m still working on it. My mom raised me with it, and I’ve yet to master it. I’m in the game, though.
How about you? Are you in the game, or do you need to join? Begin today. You may not have been raised with significant instruction in your home, regarding character development. It’s not too late to start.
Thanks Mom for your love and guidance.