Practical Philosophy

Don’t say too much

“It is even more damaging for a minister to say foolish things than to do them.”

Cardinal de Retz, 1613–1679

Growing up, we are often told to say what we think. However, this can often be damaging. Remember, words have unintended consequences.

When we feel the need to gossip, we need to stop and think of the consequences of doing so. Both from the outside (how can anybody trust talking to us if they know we gossip) and from the inside (how can we live with ourselves after doing what we know is wrong).

At its roots, the need to say everything we think results from a lack of emotional control. We really really really want to say something, so we do. We want others to make others laugh, create drama, and seem interesting.

I’m not saying we should bottle up our thoughts and feelings. Instead, I propose that before we say something, we should stop and think of the consequences first.

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