“I wish I hadn’t said that.”
Ever had that thought? Once you said it, you can’t take it back. Out of your mouth – it’s a spent bullet.
I saw an acrostic having to do with speaking up the other day. An acrostic is one of those things where the first letter of each thought forms a word. It frequently is used as a memory device. This acrostic having to do with speaking was THINK:
- T – Truth. Is what you are about to say the truth?
- H – Helpful. Will what you are about to say help all concerned make progress?
- I – Inspirational. Will what you are about to say lift someone’s spirits or inspire them to beneficial action?
- N – Necessary. Is what you are about to say necessary to communicate?
- K – Kind. Will what you are about to say be received as kindness?
Think before you speak. Be careful, though. Some folks can interpret this as “don’t say anything that stirs things up.” That’s not how I read it. Bringing the truth. Saying necessary things. That can mean saying difficult things.
Nevertheless, speaking the truth in a way that is respectful and considerate as compared to critical and denigrating takes thought and preparation.
Saying something that is necessary – quite possibly bad news and tough feedback – can be done in a way that is helpful.
I thought back on some things I wish I hadn’t said. All of them violated one of these conditions. Thinking before you speak has value.