UNITED STATES—Sometimes in the heat of the moment we just say things not realizing what we just said could have a dramatic impact on others, as well as ourselves. This got me thinking. A lot of the time we just talk without thinking, but why is that? Why don’t we take a few moments to process our thoughts before allowing everyone in the world to know exactly how we think or feel?

That might go back to the brain. That organ is a complicated one to say the least and even myself, someone who studied the brain and its behavior heavily as an undergraduate still doesn’t fully understand the world of language and how it connects to the brain. It’s like the thought is already in the back of our mind, and as soon as we allow it to gain some traction, it just spills out without so much as a second thought. I had an interesting thought: what would happen if we thought about everything we wanted to say before actually saying it.

Yeah, that would not be an easy task, because the notion of having a ‘real’ non-rehearsed conversation gets tossed out the air. However, I will make the argument that if you are indeed having a public engagement and speaking to an audience, you write out notes, you prepare, why doesn’t the same transpire in the everyday conversation?

I’ll tell you why, it loses its authenticity. You cannot connect with others if you’re hiding who you truly are or how you truly feel. If you have to filter the conversation it makes it that much harder to connect with someone. To have a healthy dialogue if you want to call it that, a lot of the time if you’ve been placed in a situation where your ego has been bruised a bit or your emotions are heightened, thinking rationally is key. You don’t want to say or do something so quickly, without thinking of potential drawbacks to your actions.

We say things we sometimes don’t feel when we’re angry, when we’re sad or caught off guard. Take a moment to yourself. Collect your thoughts, your feelings, and your words before you have diarrhea of the mouth. Remember once it comes out you can’t put it back in. There are those of us who could care less how people respond to our words. We like to hurt feelings, we like to dig the dagger deeper and twist it a bit as a way to convey your truth to the person you are speaking to.

In doing so, you may have won the battle, but you’re going to lose the war. We have become so engrossed with the notion of Freedom of Speech, and letting our voice be heard we don’t always think before we act. Remember everyone has a voice, even those who can’t necessarily speak, so think before you speak. If you say the wrong thing it can absolutely come back to haunt you.