One of my favorite little self-checks before opening my big mouth is this: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? The first is easy. The second, though it seems quite clear, can be deceptive without a habit of investigating our motives, but that can be learned with a little patience and a lot of time.
But it's that last one that makes this equation so very vital for peace-keeping, for keeping the kindness train on track. Is it sometimes necessary to speak up, to speak your mind? Oh, hells yes. Can you do it in the most truthful, most soul-revealing (and therefore kind) manner possible? Ditto on the hells yes. At times, some words are very necessary.
But other times? How necessary is your opinion to the world? To the person in front of you? Will it change anything? Or are you needled and needing to instigate a little friction? Here's where we boil it down to the bones--our intention, our motivation. All it takes for peace in this world, I'm convinced, is a pause. A pause between the ignition of thought or emotion and its follow-through. If we could take a moment, run that impulse through our three questions, I have a feeling, more often than not, we'd move through our days in languid peace--both within ourselves and with each other.