Originally Posted by StudentofLife
Have any of you had to overcome entire lifetimes of conditioning in order to have the type of love in your life that you want?
"if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" is something I've heard in my life, for sure. My parents had the old (current?) approach to parenting; treating us like we were a chore to take care of, and that controlling us was more important by far than helping us grow into healthy adults.
Unfortunately what I seem to have learned from this is that silence is courteous. That, speaking up should only happen when it is absolutely necessary. Generally this means that when I communicate it is well after the point when it could be done constructively. This is being passive and then explosive... which if you've been following along at home is a very infective way to relate to people.
"be assertive, and keep in mind your audience" or something like it is a mantra would have much rather learned in my formative years. This approach ensures that little issues don't become big issues (at least not because it was never discussed) and that tone, detail, and volume are customized for the person I'm talking to.
Having said that though, I do still see that "if you don't have anything nice.." has a place in relating to people. This is the phrase I think of when I hear people whine on and on about their parents or spouses (or whatever) at a party. This idea that everyone is thrilled to hear them pat themselves on the back about how shitty their lives are. That's not really the scenario we are talking about here, I just wanted to clarify that I don't think the phrase needs to be thrown out all together, but that it is more of a time and place issue.