Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary?
There’s a saying that’s been going around for quite a long while. it has been credited to the Buddha, Socrates, and even Thumper from the Disney movie Bambi had version of it - If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
It’s been around a long time, because it’s one of those sayings that stands the test of time. And, it’s one of those sayings that is a lot easier said than done.
Recently I was discussing my recent hair cut with a co-worker and the various reactions to it (my parents definitively think my hair has seen better days.) I was telling her that at a recent gathering a woman asked me if my husband “just died” when he saw my hair. She then went on to inform me that men love long hair. (Breaking news.) My co-worker told me about the experiences she has had with people remarking on her weight - one example was when she was in line at Starbucks ordering a small (that’s tall in Starbucks speak) frappuccino. Right behind her a father told his child that they didn’t order things like that because they make people fat. We pondered on what it is that people think gives them the right, maybe even obligation to say things like that to other people (or worse, literally behind their backs and within earshot.)
I’m pretty sure we’ve all been stung by thoughtless, insensitive, unkind, (and may I add -unasked for) opinions that would have really been better left unsaid. I have said many things that would fall into that category, and I often wish I had a rewind button.
Years ago a friend gave me a card that said, honesty without kindness is not a gift. I know many people who say truly unkind things, and then say with pride that they’re just being honest.
I value honesty very highly. I also value kindness very highly. And if we all asked ourself the question - Is it true, kind and necessary more often, I think we’d find that very often, what we think we need to say really isn’t that necessary after all.