Updated: Feb 28, 2021
As humans, our voice is one of our most impactful tools. It allows us to cultivate positive change, to encourage ourselves and others to achieve goals in which we never thought we could, to create connections, to offer insight, and shine a light when individuals are lost. This tool can facilitate love, but it also can create hate, contagiously spreading thoughts of doubt and loathing, creating division, and pushings people off the ledge and into darkness.
Talking can be innate, impetuous. Right? We are here to connect. It can be so easy to lack self-awareness when we speak, saying whatever pops into our minds. When we don’t gather our thoughts before we speak, we can say things in which we shouldn’t, or in which we don’t have to. Words create an impact, so it’s vital that we are mindful of what we say.
In order to halt the impulsive words that want to slip out of your mouth, ask yourself these three questions:
Is what I’m saying TRUE?
Is it KIND?
Is it NECESSARY?
Is It True?
As humans, we get truth confused with our opinions. If you believe pickles are the best thing ever, that’s great, but that is your opinion and not a fact. And although we all know what an opinion is vs what a fact is, we get it confused when we are chatting or engaging in gossip. Often times we can exaggerate an event or a story based on our own individual biases, creating rumors and ego-driven statements. It is important to take a step back and ask yourself if what you are saying is true? And if it's not give it some thought on what you would be benefiting from stretching the truth or telling a lie.
Is It Kind?
Kindness isn’t always sunshine and candy. It is not about overwhelming your dialogue with mealiness compliments, or always having something happy to say. It is important to go outside of yourself and consider others, is what I’m saying compassionate? Authenticity is kind. Speaking from a place rooted in genuine empathy is kind, even if it entails saying the hard stuff. Ensure that what you choose to say comes out intending to express kindness.
Is It Necessary?
Silence is allowed and sometimes needed. Although it's important to speak your truth, sometimes what we want to say isn’t beneficial in that setting, and won’t improve the silence. Take someone who is grieving a loss of a loved one, compassionate support might be more helpful than airing your dirty laundry to them. Try taking into consideration, Is what I’m saying necessary? Is what I’m saying what I want to express?
Mindful speech is not about speaking less, it’s about having more intention with what you say. Pausing to revise and assess the impact and meaning of your words is important to communicate clearly and compassionately.