I have been asked to base my comments on a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Here it is for your viewing enjoyment:
I love and admire Elder Holland. When I talk about "putting my foot in my mouth," I have a foot-in-mouth story that relates to Elder Holland. It's a bit embarrassing; can't believe I'm sharing it here, but here goes.....
So, there I was, and that was all I had to go off of--the only thing that entered my feeble mind at the moment of meeting this great man--the one thing in common that we had. I quickly blurted out, "You and I have the same initials." UGH! What had I just said?! My face went immediately from pink to red to purple--I could feel it burning, and in my brain I'm thinking, "That's the best you could do?!" I skulked away hoping that I would never, NEVER run into this man again, or if I did that it would be a planned meeting, so I could come up with something brilliant and awe inspiring. Same initials....what the heck?!
I have spent years trying to overcome my low self-esteem. Now, in hindsight (and I'm not done battling this monster yet), I can see how it has made me a stronger person. I have learned that so much of life is how we talk to ourselves. If we tell ourselves we can or we can't, we're right. It's important to encourage ourselves and speak positively to ourselves about the situations we face in this life.
Elder Holland said, "We must be so careful in speaking to a child. [It] is so very, very important in shaping a child's faith in us and their faith in God....Never tell them, even in a whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely....They remember and may struggle for years trying to forget--and to forgive."
It is vital that we find the good in ourselves and that we speak positively about ourselves and others. Speaking negatively isn't humility, it's pride. It's taking what our Father in Heaven has given us and calling it bad. It's not bad; it's just in development.
I love Doctrine & Covenants 121: 41-44 for how it teaches us how to communicate with others. It's especially been helpful as I've been learning how to interact with my children. Although it states how those who hold the priesthood should interact, it's really addressed to all of us. It states that we should use persuasion, be patient, gentle and meek and show forth genuine love. In verse 43, it uses the word "betimes." I've heard it said that that means, rarely, but when I looked it up, it was defined as "early on." In other words, we should nip things in the bud. We shouldn't let things get out of hand.
I want to go back to Mom 1:1 for a moment. Although we shouldn't say anything at all if we don't have anything nice to say, I have the feeling that Mom 1:2 should say something like, "But if you have something nice to say, make sure you say it."
So, what can you do to become a little more perfect in how you use your words? Can you give the benefit of the doubt to others and forgive those who've offended you with their words? Can you be kinder to yourself--in your self talk? Can we speak more positively to and of others as well as ourselves? Can we bless and build everyone around us--even those who are working to tear us down? And can we learn on a moment by moment basis to bridle our tongues?
"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all, but if you do have something nice to say, make sure you say it."