We have all heard it; “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” So often we fail to follow this adage, however, and say something that falls in the “feel good behavior” category, behavior that feels good to us, and cuts into another person. Why? Are we really trying to put the other person down, or build ourselves up? Or are we just not thinking? Are we intentionally being mean? If we really are not in general mean people, what benefit do we derive from saying things that hurt others? Something to think about.
We just celebrated one major holiday, and have others coming up. Did you mind your manners? Did you say things to others that were hurtful? Did you talk negatively about some family members to other family members? If so, how did that feel? While you may have felt justified, and in fact may have made a valid point, how did that contribute to the overall goodwill that all were gathered to celebrate? Perhaps we need to look within and figure out our motive for making such comments.
Holidays are stressful enough without having to deal with behavior from others that is negative or inappropriate in other ways. Drinking too much is not a way to celebrate, it is a way to embarrass not just yourself but others. Be better than that. When the family gathers, drives long distances and deals with long delays in traffic, and works hard for days, spending a lot of money on food to feed the crowd, respect that contribution, and don’t do anything to detract from that. Mind your manners.
Hopefully, your Thanksgiving holiday was peaceful and joyful, and none of the inappropriate behavior written about above occurred at your gathering. Then consider this message nothing more than a reminder of gracious behavior. If, however, you find anything in this message that you or others you know need to improve, consider this a gentle and compassionate reminder to do so. So your next gathering is filled with only positive behavior that builds others up.
One of my speaker heroes, Elizabeth Jeffries, made this comment many years ago: “We are called to disturb the comforted and comfort the disturbed.” This message may do both. And be not mistaken, this message is as much for me as anyone else.