Sometimes we speak clumsily and create internal knots in others. Then we say, ‘I was just telling the truth.’ It may be the truth, but if our way of speaking causes unnecessary suffering, it is not Right Speech. The truth must be presented in ways that others can accept. Words that damage or destroy are not Right Speech. [Thich Nhat Hahn, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 89)
There’s a man who will never retract*
The words he has said with no tact.
He will often reply,
“There’s too many a guy
Who is kinder in speech than in act.”*
a limerick by Paul Burgess
*Of course, what is said cannot be unsaid. It is better to speak carefully in the first place than to retract something harmful one has said.
*The speaker of the poem mixes wisdom with folly…I will stop treating my light limerick as if it were a literary work meriting scholarly scrutiny:)
Right Speech + Right Action= 🙂