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Speak No Evil – What Are the Rules?

speak no evilFrom the Ten Commandments where we are warned “Thou shalt not bear false witness” to the lovable three monkeys who help to ward off evil with their message to ‘Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak no Evil,’ we are cautioned about the effects of engaging in evil in our lives. What does ‘Speak no evil’ really mean? What are the rules we should not ignore to follow this instruction?

Is it truthful? The most obvious attribute is ensuring that our words are honest before we express opinions, thoughts or suspicions about others. We degrade ourselves even further when we intentionally speak words that we know are false. It is the trademark of a person who cannot get up without dragging someone else down. This typically denotes a personality devoid of real self-esteem.

Is it unkind? There are many things you may know about another person that are true, especially if they are a close relation, partner or ex anything. Unless there is a really good reason to ‘spill the beans’ about anyone you may know there is no good reason to do this. Intentionally stating unkind facts or relating stories that you know can be harmful to another person in any way signals that your emotions may be consumed by the green eyed monster we know as jealousy. The secondary reason people do this is a feeling of inadequacy.

Is it essential? Who hasn’t met or befriended a person who cannot stop talking, about themselves or others. They have a need or desire to impress us with their knowledge. Some even imagine they have investigative talents when they gather as much dirt as possible and then blow it around to anyone in earshot. Was it necessary to say those things or were they simply feeding an ego with a voracious appetite? The need to show everyone what you know precedes deep-seated emotional issues about oneself. There is never a good reason to spew stories about another unless you are under oath and required to do so. Even then, you will be carefully guided to ensure the other person’s rights are protected.

Leaders don’t break these rules. While it is necessary to be discerning and know what is going on around you, it is counterproductive to imagine that others have malicious intentions unless they have given you good cause to believe they do. If they have demonstrated malevolent intentions you are negligent not to note this and proceed accordingly by removing them from your life. Close the book and move on. Otherwise, words are powerful. Use yours to further your own goals, hopes and dreams.

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