DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. Wise words my mom used to tell me often. “If you can’t say anything nice…don’t say anything at all.” She used this saying as a response to bickering between my brother and I but today I realized that there is a much bigger application that this can be used in.
It can also be spoken as “if you can’t be positive, be quiet.” I like that. I pride (Pride is a key word here!) myself in my positive attitude. Sometimes I have even been referred to as a Pollyanna. It is said that being a Pollyanna is usually considered a put-down for being naive and unrealistic about things but Pollyanna always made a game of finding “something to be glad about.” Is that a bad thing?
Regardless, our words have power and even though I can remember to not say anything at all if I don’t have something nice to say to others, I often forget to stay positive when I am alone in my room or in my thoughts.
For example, today something happened and I immediately started saying, “There is no way we can fix this. This is so bad, how will I figure this out? There is no way I’m going to make this right.” Is that nice? Should I say it? Even to myself? And, it definitely isn’t positive. It certainly affected my mood and the mood of those around me.
The minute I stopped saying anything. Just stopped, I was able to re-frame the situation and recognize that I will be able to do something about it. Will it be all right? Maybe not, but it will be my best. I will start talking positively to myself and to others and I think the effort and results will show. Instead of speaking defeat, I will strive for success.
There’s a story in the Bible (2 Kings 4:8) about a woman whose son had died. She was running for help and when someone asked her “Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?” she replied, “Everything is all right.” (2 Kings 4:26) Are you kidding me? Her son was dead! BUT, what good would it have done for her to lament about her problems. She was going for help. Should she stop to complain about the situation? She said, “Everything is all right” and kept going for help.
What a good example. I’m going to try to be positive or be quiet. I will do as I was told and not saying anything if I can’t say anything nice and I bet my day and my attitude will be better for it!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (AUTHOR NOTE: Think about such things? Probably includes talk about such things too!)