Maxim Monday: Speak Well of Everyone

This one is tricky. I don’t like to gossip, although sometimes it feels good. I want to speak well of everyone, but sometimes people make it so hard to do!

Sometimes other people are awful. Instead of speaking ill of them, I’ve been learning to communicate how I feel and what my experience has been. This allows others to come to their own conclusions, expresses the truth my experience, but can allow me more space to be compassionate toward some one who has treated me poorly. I can say “I do not like so-and-so for X reason,” rather than “X is a loser.”

Is this violating the spirit of this Maxim? I don’t think so. If we try to say something nice about every one, that may actually be spreading falsehoods. But we can speak the good things we know about people when possible, and when necessary to bring up the negative sides we can choose to speak from experience, rather than name calling and blanket statements of worth.

About Niki Whiting
  • Ealasaid

    I can’t wait to look up the translation for this one in my series. :) I’m curious about “speak well” – that could mean to speak clearly/accurately rather than to speak positively. By working to communicate your opinions and experiences clearly, you’re definitely doing the former. /word nerd

    • myownashram

      Heh, sometimes speaking accurately is the kindest thing that can be said. Otherwise you might tip into lying!

  • Elaine Parker

    I also think it’s about taking “ownership” of your own feelings and reactions, rather than saying “they make me….”. Assertiveness and respect come from self-acceptance. It is OK not to like everyone. Plus in psychological terms, there are things like transferance, counter-transferance and projection, so sometimes it isn’t even THAT person we are responding to, but someone they remind us of…. not so straightforward!

  • Tāṇḍava

    Perhaps it means that you should speak about someone’s good qualities even if over all your comments are negative. Like “XXX is an extremely hard worker and dedicated to his job, but he can’t see that other people’s situations are different and is very unsympathetic to staff who need some time for family commitments”