"Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?" - Sai Baba
Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that I'm quite a talker.
I love words.
They run fluidly from my brain and through my veins. Adrenalized. Excited. Anxious. They are ready to inspire. To heal. To touch. To move.
I remember being a child, sitting on the floor in my over sized T-shirt and striped leg warmers, writing in my Lisa Frank journal, knowing that I would someday make a difference with my words.
But what good are words if they are not compassionate, full of validity, or essential?
This Sai Baba quote above means a lot to me. What's most moving to me is when he asks "does it improve on the silence?"
We hear, read, and exchange words all day long, but only the most stirring words affect us in the quiet hours of our day.
What are your words really saying?
Here are five questions to ask yourself the next time you're in a conversation to be sure that you're using your words to spread love and kindness:
1. Am I being mindful?
It's so important to be mindful during conversations. It's normal for our minds to wander when our co-worker is talking about her daughter's recital, but is it polite? Are we genuinely listening? If there is one thing people have in common, it's that we all just want to be heard! We want validation.
When you are sincerely listening to the person who is talking to you, they can feel it. It makes them feel valuable and worthy of your time. By being fully present during conversation, we create the power to change our relationships.
2. Is there a kinder way to say what I'm about to say?
We have all had that moment of instant regret as those last words left our mouth, or as I like to call it...word vomit. By allowing a short moment of silence in between our sentences we eliminate those impulsive and hurtful remarks and make way for a more kind and compassionate approach to our response!
3. Am I being honest?
As the saying goes, If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything!
It's plain and simple: keep it honest, be sincere, and always be trustworthy! Even if the truth hurts, you will most likely be well respected in the end for your honesty!
4. Am I speaking with purpose?
Challenge yourself to only speak with motive. You will find that your voice will be of more importance to others around you if you keep your words wise, short, and sweet.
5. Would silence be a better choice right now?
Every so often, silence says more than words ever could. As I stated before, we all just want to be heard. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for another person is sit with them in their grief. Be an open ear. Free of all judgement. Just present, loving, and listening.