Speaking with honesty and consideration

One of the most important qualities we can have is honesty. The reason is that truthfulness forms the foundation of all of our other virtues. This means every time we speak, we should speak the truth. To some people this seems like an unreasonable thing – to always speak honestly. Many people believe that sometimes we should tell “white lies” for the sake of others. However, speaking honestly does not mean speaking bluntly and without consideration. Before we speak, we need to think about the person we are speaking to and how our words will affect them. We need to use wisdom in order that we can speak with consideration.

This is different from caring what others think of us. We do not modify our words so that people will like us; we consider our words so that we don’t hurt others. We don’t need to care what others think of us, but we do need to care what others think. We need to know our audience so that we are able to convey what we want to say in a way that people will understand and without hurting them.

Of course, sometimes there is no way to word something without our message hurting the hearer. The doctor has to tell the family of a patient if they have died. There’s no way around that. And naturally, they will be hurt. But in other cases, there are ways to say something that will be hurtful and ways to say it that are not.

Speaking the truth is part of being true to ourselves, being authentic. But our authenticity needs to be expressed while considering others. 

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