I have inherited this bit of wisdom from someone who shared this at an AA meeting. Yes, I thought at one time that I was an alcoholic; I was dreadfully wrong and that’s a completely different post and probably a book. Stay tuned on that!
When we think we are being honest, we can think of brutal honesty: “Your Christmas sweater is kinda hideous”. We think of rigorous honesty: “I think we should return this lost wallet to lost and found”. Then we have the honesty that comes with trust. All in all, these are more or less levels of trust that grow with time. However, the everyday honesty that flies out of our mouth in the name of integrity could use a little help. I know when I heard this acronym at the meeting, I would never forget it. I have been honest to a fault. And I don’t mean that false modesty honesty…”Oh, I just tell people all my personal thoughts” type of thing that comes with regret. I share with rigorous honesty here as I do try to keep things anonymous.
This is the deal; THINK before you talk. THINK before you post on Facebook or Tweet on Twitter. Nike says “Just do it” and I think they are on to something!
T: Is it Thoughtful? Have you formed an insightful idea on why this needs to be said?
H: Is it Honest (Is it really?) or something else with other motives?
I:Is it Important? Does it need to be said?
N: Is it Necessary? Will your statement help someone in a positive way?
K: Is it Kind? Do you really need to make someone feel less than with your intended statement?
This checklist was invaluable for a former “little miss can’t be wrong” like my self. It is humbling. It creates an idea of pure humility and intention. We think twice and say it once. We think carefully and it becomes second nature. This worked for me. I don’t take myself as seriously when I know I am not trying to teach people lessons with lectures that are neither Necessary or Kind. I don’t think that my clothes are better than someone else’s choices when I am being Thoughtful and Kind. It works if you work it: That’s just one more thing I learned in my time at AA.