When speaking to others, we are often encouraged to be thoughtful about what we say. Words can hurt us, and we can hurt with words. A common acronym used to illustrate this point is “THINK” – the idea that you should ask yourself if what you are about to say is:
This is an important idea that affects our relationships directly. Becoming mindful of our own words can do much to improve our communication with others and that in turn can have a positive impact on those relationships.
Connected to this idea is the importance of weighing the words of others. If we examine the words of others, we may find that what they have said resonates strongly within us. Perhaps our reaction towards them was a defense against a painful truth. Perhaps what they have said is uninformed and is not true for us. It requires a great deal of patience and understanding to sit with things, that may have been hurtful, to examine them. This reflection is an opportunity for growth.
Learning to separate the wheat and the chaff of the advice of others is an important skill. It enables us to take wisdom – from wherever we might find it. It must be said that not all things need to be examined in this way. There are some things that are clearly meant to be harmful and cause pain, perhaps said in anger or ignorance.
Ask yourself the same questions: Is what has been said to me, True? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Was it necessary? Was it kind?
Take what you need. Take what is useful for your growth and let the wind blow everything else away.