The Three Gatekeepers
According to traditional Buddhist teaching there are three gatekeepers your words must pass thru before they leave your mouth: The words must first be true. They must then be kind. And, lastly they must be necessary.
If words are true, but not kind or necessary you abuse the receiving person, bludgeoning them with the truth: It’s true, therefore I have the right to say it. A lot of hurtful words and power dynamic get delivered in the wrapping of The Truth.
If words are kind, but not true or necessary they may afford a temporary sweetness, but because they are dishonest, will produce no lasting positive effect.
If words are true and kind, but not necessary, they are self-serving and manipulative.
If words are necessary and true, but not kind they will be met with resistance and defensive maneuvers and so will not accomplish their intended purpose.
True in this sense does not mean absolute, carved in granite Truth, but represents your highest knowing, your feeling in the moment, what you genuinely perceive to be true for yourself. Your feelings are your truth in the moment.
Kind does not mean that the words are nice, but that they are the most loving words you can say, even if they are painful.
Necessary means that the words you say should serve a higher purpose, bring about a higher good.
If your words pass through all three gates, being true, kind and necessary they will bring no harm to the other person and will pave the way for deeper understanding and closer shared intimacy.