My mom would say to us when we were little, “If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all.”
You ever notice in life, when you get in conversations with people in your family or good friends, that something will be said that’s hurtful or insensitive? Immediately, the natural thing to do is to respond, to react to what was said, and come back and protect yourself. And it’s said in the way of an attack.
What happens then, is rather than the argument or the incident stopping, it’s intensified. It gets elevated. It gets ramped up, and the hostility between the two parties continues.
My mom would say to us, “You have no control of what somebody else says, but you do have control of what you think and then what you say”.
So, she would say, “You may have a thought to say in reaction to what was told you, but you do control your tongue, so hold back your tongue.”
I’ve seen her many times hold back what she wanted to say, when she would have words of counsel or wisdom to her children or grandchildren, but she told me later that they weren’t going to listen to it anyways, and there’s a time when to speak, and most of the time it’s better to hold back your tongue.
If you choose your time and your battles, and hold back your tongue, you may be surprised, when you do speak, the positive results.