You'd think that, age age 53, I would no longer be terribly concerned with what my mother says about certain things.
Well, I am. And as time goes by, I see that she's very often right.
One of my mother's most outstanding characteristics is her ability to keep her mouth shut. It used to annoy me -- you never really knew what she was really thinking. On the other hand, her ability to refrain from criticizing, offering unwanted advice or getting into ANY sort of an argument (I just don't think that I've ever seen her argue with ANYONE) has probably done more to strengthen her relationships and the relationships with people around her than anyone I know.
On a global scale, the lesson that I've taken from that is that no one ever got in trouble from things that he (or she) DIDN'T say.
This has served me well on numerous occasions. One particular episode stands out in my mind -- when a person, with whom I was involved in a significant altercation, used to bluster on. He was trying to bully me with his words. Although I was dying to respond, I kept quiet. This allowed me to successfully fight him and persevere, even though the odds were not in my favor.
It's true, sometimes I feel like a doormat. But I think to myself, what will people (and my children) remember when I'm gone? My sharp and witty tongue? (OK, not likely, because I usually don't think about the correct responses until well after the argument is over). Or the fact that I manage to get along with most people?
I was thinking about this issue this morning when I was reading a blog. The writer was bemoaning so many issues in her life but was very clear about who was to blame. The people were identifiable too -- I actually know them. And I couldn't help thinking that, if those people ever saw that blog -- that would be the end of the relationship. It would be, like, gossiping about someone and sticking a loudspeaker next to the person's ear. The writer can't voice her complaints to the people involved, so she writes -- fair enough. But everyone who reads it can clearly identify all the individuals involved!
So, thank you mom. Your wise teachings have finally sunk in. I just hope that I can figure out a way to send your message onward before a family is destroyed.