If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive (Dale Carnegie). Sometimes we really are our own worst enemies. We say and do things to alienate ourselves from others and then feel sorry for ourselves when we are alone and isolated. We sabotage ourselves then complaint that “some people have all the luck”. I, too, have been guilty of damaging the very relationships I value. I have surely come on too strong, too directly, or too confrontationally in the name of honesty or self respect. Often I forget that people are unique and all do not have the same thoughts, opinions, histories, abilities, and weakness that I do. I’ve mistakenly thought the worst of someone out of fear or mistrust from the past. In reality, people don’t have to put up with us, our idiosyncrasies, or our peculiar expectations. I have learned the hard way that saying hurtful (although truthful) things to people may not be in the best interest of my relationships. I don’t always have to express my honest feelings about someone or a situation (although I don’t have to lie either). Is it helpful to point out someone else’s flaws or mistakes? Probably not. Are we really motivating someone by criticizing or giving unwanted advice? I doubt it. When it gets down to it, I have come to appreciate something my mother use to say–“If you don’t have something nice to say then say nothing at all”. In therapy training I was educated to believe it’s not healthy to only say nice things. On the other hand, is it helpful to say things that are not nice? Ultimately, we need to be discerning and mindful of what we say. We need to consider if what we say is helpful. Even if something is possibly hurtful will it result in an improvement or benefit of some kind? If the end result will only be bad then I really recommend remaining silent. Is it going to be helpful to tell someone something negative that will only cause them to feel ashamed or hurt their feelings? As I get older the less value I place on “telling it like it is”. There is room and place for diplomacy, manners, sensitivity, and consideration for the feelings of others. After all, we are all just people who have strengths as well as weakness. Each one of us, I am sure, are fully aware of our faults and areas of our lives that need improvement. Do we really benefit from someone reminding us? I don’t think so. Do you? Do I really want to hear what someone does not like about me or what they think I’ve done wrong? Not really. Then why in the world would I think someone else would want to hear those things from me?