There are 3 exceptional credos I try to live by.
The first one is actually three questions you ask yourself before speaking. I first heard it from a spiritual and tender-hearted Vietnam Vet, Ed, who passed away not too long ago. I latched on to its meaning, simplicity and usefulness, right away, making it a mantra around my house. But be careful to practice what you preach, as I have learned in my own home. I have had plenty of precepts thrown back in my face. Your children will delight in reminding you of a rule or belief you have enforced, once they are teenagers. They keep us on our toes.
1. Before you begin to speak, respond, etc. Ask yourself these three questions. Only proceed if you can answer YES to all three.
a) Is what I am about to say true?
b) Is it kind?
c) Is it necessary?
The same week I first heard this, I read it later in Ann Landers or Dear Abby. I don’t recall which. Coincidence or a God shot?
The second maxim is a quote my friend Joe used to hear all the time from a wise woman he worked with.
Lower your expectations of others and Improve your own performance
Amazingly, I have fewer resentments when I remember this one. I also become accountable for my own actions, tone of voice and judgmental thoughts.
And thirdly, a mom (Bridget) who used to live in our town whom has since moved away, told me her midwest bred mom frequently pounded into her and her sisters’ heads –
“It’s nice to be important – but it’s more important to be nice.”
When I start to feel like I am all that and a bag of potato chips, I kinda have to recall this grounding and humble quote.
I would much rather recognize these principles working in my interactions and daily round than be reprimanded for not having observed them. It’s just too embarrassing.