Some individuals might remember this tagline from a 1984 TV commercial. It refers to the strength of garbage bags. Do they hold in the trash or break open leaving a big ugly mess? What a great question – and great behavioral lesson we could apply to our thoughts and words.
As I get older I realize how important it is to pause and think before speaking. Inhibiting our words can be hard, but I believe our thoughts go through our brains for a reason. Our brains act as filters, providing us the opportunity to decide what information should pass through our mouths and what things are better left unsaid.
Of course, I have tons of behavioral phrases I use with kids about this idea. “Words are powerful. Just because you think something, doesn’t mean you should say it. Is that comment going to help or make things worse? Think before you speak. Use your filter. If you don’t have something nice to say…”. How sad for me that I don’t always practice what I preach.
We need to look no further than social media to find examples of people with wimpy filters, so professionally and personally, strive to have a hefty one. It’s not complicated. Practice holding in the trash, lest we all leave a big ugly mess in our wake.