Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gatekeepers of the Lips

Sometimes, when I take the time to think about it, I catch myself saying some things that are pretty ugly. Not intentionally. My mood can cause me to bark or to snap half truths. Or it can provide verbal fodder that would be better off unsaid. Occasionally, I step into gossip ~ which is never a pretty or uplifting conversation. It's human nature to speak our minds about topics, rattle off our opinions and focus on the seamier side of our mental processes.

That's why I love the proverb in the image. It reminds me that three very small queries could prevent the kind of negativity that I truly don't want to have in my life.

The first question: Is it true? It seems that would be an easy one. Something is either true or it is not. Unfortunately, my words are rarely that simple. The specific statements I make may be true, but the context, inflection and/or intention may not be. Have you ever heard, or used, the phrase: "I was only telling the truth as I saw it"? That's a subtle acknowledgement that the speaker knows the re-telling is questionable in its veracity. If that's true, keep your mouth closed. The story doesn't need to be told that badly.

The second question: Is it kind? Wow. This one really hits me in the gut. Have you ever wanted just to be snippy and unkind to make yourself feel better? Sometimes that how it goes. I've had a tough day at work, I forgot my lunch, I spilled my coffee. The list goes on. When I feel bad or insecure, all I want to do is feel better. For some odd reason, at those moments I forget about kindness.

The third question: Is it necessary? Probably over half of what I talk about with people is unnecessary. People don't need all the details of my burnt breakfast. Or how many places I searched for new batteries for my camera. If the details help comfort someone or make someone laugh, then they're worth it. It's a matter of discerning what's truly necessary to hear and what's fluff.

I think I'll post this image above my desk. If I remember to look at it, it may save some heartache and ugliness.

Do you ever say ugly things? How do you feel afterward? What do you do to mitigate the comment? What practice do you do to stop the ugliness from coming out?


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