Camille Styles

Life Lessons

4 Things to Think About Before You Speak

January 10th, 2017

“Think before you speak.” It’s a maxim that’s been drilled into most of our heads since childhood, so why is it so difficult to actually put into action? I’ll admit, my natural tendency is to say what pops into my head first, but as I get older, I’m realizing how crucial it is to choose my words carefully. I think part of my wake-up call happened when I became a mom, since young kids interpret our words literally and often feel their weight in a way that we more easily brush off as adults. The other day, Phoebe was behaving uncharacteristically badly, and I made an exasperated remark that she wasn’t acting like my sweet little girl. Her face crumpled as big tears ran down her face, and she said between sobs, “But I am still your little girl!” It broke my heart to realize that my words had made her feel that my love was conditional, even if that wasn’t my intention.

So whether we’re communicating with our family, friends, or total strangers, how can we make sure that we’re using our words for good? I recently heard a quote (sometimes credited to Buddha, though seems like it’s been used by many wise teachers through the centuries) that provides a useful checklist we can go through when we’re considering what to say and — just as powerful — how to say it. By the way, these work when deciding what to post on social media, too. Keep scrolling for the four questions, and I’d love to hear in the comments if you guys have any tips for thinking before you speak!

featured image via adenorah

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  1. Rachael says:

    Love this! Great things to think about before speaking, it would be great if everyone could do this 🙂

    Rachael xx.

  2. karen says:

    Besides, when you never tell a lie, you never have to worry about being caught in it.

  3. Really loved this post! It is a great reminder of how we should communicate with one another.

  4. caleigh86 says:

    Great advice!
    Before I speak I tell myself 3 things: 1) be kind. 2) be useful. 3) be articulate
    These 3 ‘stops’ are a great frame of reference to remind myself of the kind of person I strive to be. It’s one of the reasons why I love reading this blog, because I feel it emulates those attributes as well.

  5. “…remember that both positivity and negativity are contagions.” Oh, how true! Thanks for this reminder.

  6. tracy risucci says:

    love this post and love the site overall. content always fun, colorful and happy!

  7. Lucille Long says:

    I must admit that I also have the tendency to just say whatever pops into my mind, but I have to be more mindful of that. I love the questions you made. I will definitely start using them. Thank you so much!

  8. Christy Peeples DuBois says:

    This is a great post and, as you said, the older I’ve gotten the more mindful of this I am.
    There is a quote that I do not remember verbatum however it says that people may forget what you do, and they often may forget what you said but they never forget how you made them feel. Asking these questions you’ve listed will definitely help with this or prevent this from happening.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Love this post! Thanks for this great reminder to slow down and think before we act, especially as we begin a new year!

    xo, Courtney

  10. KK says:

    This can also be utilized as before you post! If only everyone thought about the implications of their posts and tweets possibly we could all share more positivity and kindness. thanks for sharing

  11. Great post. It’s just that these 4 things are difficult to remember when you are in the heat of the moment and emotions are high. Do you have any suggestions for that?

  12. Jennifer says:

    love this. definately have to use these. Will be difficult though.

  13. Ted says:

    I’ve been practicing this lately,but when I drink , I say things without thinking . Great post , love it !

    • Annie says:

      Good post, thanks. Words are very powerful and we need to chose them carefully. Bad communication habits are focused on people pleasing and winning approval rather than being effective. We need to stay focused on being honest rather than whether we will be liked or not…

  14. Natalie says:

    Good advice! I’d be lying if sometimes I didn’t take this on board before speaking!

  15. Kristin says:

    You inspired a blog post: I hope you find that it fits all four of your criteria.

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