Is It Kind? Is It Necessary? Is it True?

Florence Shinn wrote, “Man’s word is his wand filled with magic and power!”

Our words are mighty swords. If we swing them one way, they nurture life and make it grow. It we swing them the other way, they can destroy.

There was an old saying that I grew up with, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” I used this little rhyme when someone said something hurtful to me to let them know that I couldn’t be harmed by their words. I pretended to be strong when all the while, I was feeling something entirely different.

Words do mean something and words do have power.  A word spoken gets lodged in the subconscious and sometimes it is hard to let go of. Then, we must work to reprogram ourselves by using new words until we reverse the thought.

So, I’ve learned the Buddhist way and before I say any thing, I ask these three questions: “Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? Have you ever tried it? I begin  in the morning and have to stop myself continually when I caught myself in the web of talking without thinking.

If we would all slow down, take a breath and ask these three questions, there might be a lot more silence, but when we did speak, we’d be affirming those things that we would like to see objectified in our lives.

Maybe we don’t care. Maybe we just want to continue talking and sharing what we call well-meaning advice or conversation that we think will save the world. That’s okay too. We are all exactly where we are with our own tongues and our own choices.  However, whatever we choose to think or say, we might want to contemplate the consequences of those choices. That is the truth of my life.

Ernest Holmes once wrote that one day “all our conversations would be in Heaven.” I like this choice better. Not only am I happier and more productive, but when I focus on what is right instead of what is wrong, I am building something worthwhile instead of breaking down what needs building – whether it is my confidence, my peace of mind, my feelings of self-love and love for others.

I invite us all to watch our words. Do they improve the silence or are they just adding fuel to a fire that is just smouldering? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?


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