Have you ever said something to someone without really thinking it through first then immediately regretted saying it?
How many times are the words out before you even know it and you spend the rest of the day worrying about what you said, berating yourself for being so stupid and having imaginary conversations with yourself about what you should have said instead?
I do it all the time. I say the words and, as soon as they’re out, there’s a slight pause whilst my brain catches up with my mouth and I think, ‘I shouldn’t have said that.’ or ‘Why on Earth did I say that?!’ or ‘Where did that come from??’
To be fair, most of the time the things you say are never quite as bad as you think they are but, on the odd occasion, they can be hurtful, unnecessary and even untrue and whilst the person on the receiving end may not outwardly show they’re hurt or upset, it can knock their confidence in quite a big way. I speak from experience, having said things that I should never have voiced out loud but did and, because of that, ended up hurting and upsetting people. On the flip side though, I’ve been on the receiving end of it too and, although a lot of time may have passed since these things were said, they’ve hurt me or upset me so much that I find it very difficult to let them go. However, a while ago I found this mnemonic (try saying that after a couple of G&Ts) which I believe comes from the teachings of Buddha and it has really stuck in my mind.
Think Before You Speak
The mnemonic is: T.H.I.N.K and, once you learn it, it works as a trigger to remind you to think things through before you open your mouth and say something which you may
later come to rely on in court live to regret. So, just as you’re about to say something, T.H.I.N.K.…
T – is it true?
H – is it helpful?
I – is it important?
N – is it necessary?
K – is it kind?
…and if it isn’t any of those things, don’t say it. It’s as simple as that.
To begin with it may feel as though it’s a lot to think about but the good news is, there will come a point when you won’t even have to remember what each letter stands for – that’s the beauty of mnemonics. Eventually, you’ll only have to think of the word ‘think’ and you’ll automatically be much more aware of what you’re about to say and how you’re going to say it.