Once upon a time an old man spread rumors that his neighbor was a thief. As a result, the young man was arrested. Days later the young man was proven innocent. After been released he sued the old man for wrongly accusing him.
In court the old man told the Judge: 'They were just comments, didn't harm anyone..'
The judge, before passing sentence on the case, told the old man: 'Write all the things you said about him on a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way home, throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come back to hear the sentence.'
The next day, the judge told the old man: 'Before receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday.' The old man said: 'I can't do that! The wind spread them and I won't know where to find them.'
The judge then replied: 'The same way, simple comments may destroy the honor of a man to such an extent that one is not able to fix it. If you can't speak well of someone, rather don't say anything. 'Let's all be masters of our mouths, so that we won't be slaves of our words.'
Why was I inspired by this one? Simple- think and corelate it with everyday life. Be it at home-amongst relatives or at work, isn't this something that either happens with all of us or that we cause, at some time or the other?
Someone, in his eagerness to prove himself superior, tries to pull you down somehow, making people laugh at you.
Or, you, wanting to be the victor always, pull down someone else by making jokes at their expense or belittling them.
Later on, in both cases, the person doing the pulling down may regret what he or she said. But, the cat is out of the bag. The damage is done.And, it takes ages to repair this damage.
I quite like the suggestion of not saying anything if you can't say something well of someone. In fact, I do implement it to the extent possible(Ahem!)You surely tend to attract more respect this way than by being stand-offish/rude/insulting,don't you?
Have a lovely day!