What emanates from our tongues can be helpful—and harmful. Thank you for taking the first step to recognize this. In a hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) advises his companion to be careful of his speech because it is our speech that paves the path to an unsuccessful end.[1] He also teaches us to speak only good words or to be silent.[2] As such, we need to think before we speak and ask ourselves “is what I want to say harmful or helpful?” Allah commands us to be mindful of our duty to Him, and when we speak, we must speak in a manner that is respectful, upholds the integrity of others, encourages others, brings out the best in the person we are speaking with—that we should be known as people who speak goodness to others, even in admonishment.[3]

We should reflect on our words and conversations. We can ask, “If someone spoke to me in this manner, how would I feel?” If we are in the habit of causing upset through our words, then perhaps writing them down before speaking would be helpful. We could also practice being silent rather than speaking reactively and regretting it. The central principle is practicing patience; being patient towards others by remaining silent and not overly critical, by choosing to not argue or debate, by validating a person rather than constantly being in opposition, and by thinking quietly about a kind response before speaking.

[1] Sunan at-Tirmidhi

[2] Sahih Bukhari

[3] Surah al-Ahzab, Verse 70