If you don’t have something nice to say

photo courtesy of iStockphoto

I don’t know why I am still surprised when I witness adults acting like children. It’s disheartening, really, to see that years of exposure to life’s lessons still leave some people emotionally immature.

I’m not naive enough to think that everyone is going to get along, or that we will always be in agreement with the leadership in our lives, but I would hope that we would get to a point that we would strive to always show respect to others, even when we disagree.

It’s one of those things I remember my parents teaching me growing up. I try to impress the same thing on my children daily.

“If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

There will always be moments, or people, that rub us the wrong way, situations that require us to hold our tongue or say a little prayer for self-control. And in those times that confrontation is unavoidable, we still have choices. We can choose to publicly humiliate someone or talk to them privately. We also have the choice to swallow our pride and then vent over a glass of wine to our girlfriends. It is also surprising to me how much energy people waste hoping for people to change, right or wrong. I’ve done that before, whined and whined about how I wish “so-and-so” would act or be different from who they are. But then my husband reminds me that it’s my responsibility to either walk away from this person or accept this person unconditionally or just get used to being disappointed.

“We can not control someone else’s behavior, we can only control how we respond to that behavior.”

It is most disappointing to see someone’s nasty behavior negatively impact others, especially when the sole intent was to embarrass or humiliate them. But it is a breath of fresh air to witness the person being attacked, handle the impropriety with dignity and professionalism. I have a lot of respect for someone who has that level of self-control, watch them take a deep breath, gather their composure, and make no acknowledgement of such immature comments.  It says a lot about their character and leadership abilities.

I hope that I remember such maturity when faced with a similar situation.

4 thoughts on “If you don’t have something nice to say

  1. This article resonated so much with me today – I’ve been struggling with my reaction toward somebody and their characteristics that I deem undesirable ( … jee I sound so pompous) … but this article has added a perspective that I believe I will strive more fully to adopt.

    Thanks, Em 🙂

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