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How To Speak Kindness When You’re Upset

When you speak kindness, you spread kindness!

Every day, you have the opportunity to speak words of kindness to yourself and those around you, even if you’re upset. This is a great skill to develop.

When you choose kindness, you decide not to respond with anger or negativity, even if you don’t think the other person deserves your kindness. Instead, you speak words that are healing and empowering. This opens doors to mutual understanding and conflict resolution.

Check out our tips for how to speak kind words when you’re upset.

Speaking With Kindness

speak kindness

What Does It Mean To Speak Kindness?

When you speak with kindness, you use positive and affirming language. You speak in a way that is helpful, compassionate, and polite. You avoid using rude, aggressive, or derogatory words.

You express your thoughts and feelings without hurting others. You speak in a way that shows you care about the other person.

Ways to Speak Kindness

There are many ways to speak kindness. Here are a few:

1. Use Affirming Words

This means using words that build people up rather than tear them down. For example, you might say, “Thank you for telling me how you feel. I’m lucky that you feel comfortable sharing.”

2. Be Helpful And Compassionate

When you’re upset, it’s easy to focus on your own pain. Instead, be helpful and compassionate towards others. For example, you could say, “Can I help you with anything?” or “I’m here for you if you need to talk.”

3. Be Polite And Respectful

Say please and thank you, and avoid profanity. This shows that you’re respectful of others, even when you’re upset.

4. Avoid Using Derogatory Words

Avoid words that are rude, mean, or hurtful. For example, you could say, “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” instead of, “This is such a nightmare.”

5. Avoid Placing Blame

It’s easy to want to place blame when you’re upset. But if you can avoid doing this, it will help the situation. For example, instead of saying, “You’re such a jerk,” you could say, “I’m feeling really hurt right now.”

Speak Kindness When You’re Upset: Our 12 Top Tips

When you’re upset, it’s easy to speak without thinking. But if you can take a moment to pause and speak kindly, it will make a world of difference.

Here are our top tips for how to speak kindness when you’re upset:

1. Take A Step Back

Man with eyes closed

When you’re feeling upset, it can be difficult to speak kindly. You might want to react in the moment and say something you’ll regret later.

Take a step back from the situation. This can be literal – leave the room if you need to! – or figurative. If you can’t take a break from the situation, try counting to 10 or 20 before responding. Take a deep breath or two to calm down and prepare yourself to respond kindly.

Think about what you want to say before you respond. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to say everything that you’re thinking. In fact, it’s often best to keep your thoughts to yourself!

You should only respond when you have a clear and calm mindset. Don’t respond out of anger, even though it might be tempting.

2. Pay Attention To What You Say And Do

Speak in a slow, steady, and calm voice. Choose words that are honest but also thoughtful and caring. Avoid using words that are judgmental, mean, or hurtful.

Be conscious of your tone, facial expressions, and body language. All of these things send messages, too! Avoid eye rolling, crossing your arms, or tapping your foot, as these can be seen as aggressive. Instead, try to relax your body and keep an open posture.

3. Acknowledge Feelings

In any conflict, there are two sides to the story. It’s important to remember that just because someone is upset with you, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Similarly, just because you’re upset doesn’t mean the other person is a bad person, either.

Acknowledge the other person’s feelings, and let them know that you understand why they’re upset. This doesn’t mean you must agree with them, but it shows you care about how they feel.

For example, you might say, “I can see why you’re so upset. I would feel the same way if I were in your position.”

4. Avoid Assumptions

When you’re upset, it’s easy to make assumptions about the other person’s intentions. However, most of the time, these assumptions are wrong!

For example, let’s say your partner forgot to take out the trash. You might assume that they did it on purpose to annoy you. But in reality, they might have just forgotten.

Making assumptions about the other person’s intentions is a surefire way to escalate a situation. Avoid making assumptions and ask questions to clarify the situation instead.

5. Listen Actively

friends chatting

In any conflict, listening to the other person’s perspective is important. When you’re upset, this can be difficult, but it’s crucial for resolving the situation.

When the other person is speaking, really try to listen to what they’re saying. Avoid interrupting, and try to see things from their perspective. Even if you think you have some great advice to share, sometimes it’s best just to listen.

After they’re done speaking, repeat what you heard to show that you were listening. For example, you might say, “I understand you’re upset because I was late for dinner. I’m sorry about that.”

Learning to be a better listener will go a long way to helping you speak kindly, regardless of the situation.

6. Accept Responsibility

If you’re in a conflict situation, accept responsibility for the part that you played. After all, just because you’re upset doesn’t mean you’re in the right!

Did you say something unnecessarily snarky to your friend, which caused them to blow up at you and say some horrible things? Take a step back, and acknowledge that you weren’t a great friend with your original comment.

This doesn’t mean you need to condone their actions; it means you’re holding yourself accountable for your role in the situation.

7. Use “I” Statements

When you speak kindly, use “I” statements. For example, instead of saying, “You’re so lazy!” try, “I feel frustrated when I see dishes in the sink.”

Making “I” statements helps to take the focus off of the other person and puts it back on you. It shows that you take responsibility for your feelings and don’t just place blame on the other person.

8. Practice Forgiveness

One of the best things you can do when speaking kindly is to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you need to forget what happened. It just means that you’re willing to move on from the situation.

If you can forgive the other person, it will help to reduce the tension between you. It will also show that you’re willing to work towards a resolution.

9. Be Okay With Saying You’re Sorry

Apologizing

Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, sometimes it’s best to apologize. Apologizing shows that you care about the other person’s feelings and want to resolve the issue at hand.

For example, you might say, “I’m sorry you’re upset. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

An apology like this can defuse a tense situation and help to steer the conversation in a more positive direction.

10. Think Positively

When you’re upset, the last thing you need is more negativity. This negativity will inhibit your ability to think clearly.

So, when you’re upset, don’t latch onto negative thoughts. Instead, try to focus on positive thoughts. For example, think about how the situation can be resolved or how you can prevent it from happening again.

11. Avoid Negative Self-Talk

Speaking with kindness also applies to yourself. When you’re upset, it’s easy to start engaging in negative self-talk. But this will only make the situation worse.

Instead of beating yourself up, try to focus on positive self-talk. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m so stupid! I can’t believe I said that!” try, “I made a mistake, but I can learn from it and do better next time.”

Be understanding and forgiving with yourself, just as you would with loved ones.

12. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like with anything else, speaking kindly takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re struggling to speak kindly, take a step back and try again later. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes. Just don’t give up!

Kindness is not always easy. This is why kindness is not weakness – it’s strength.

Men talking

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve gained some wisdom today!

Mastering how to speak kindness when you’re upset may seem daunting. However, it’s one of the best ways to cultivate relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.

It takes time and practice to speak kindly, but it’s worth it!

When you choose to speak kindly, despite being upset, you train your brain. You can rewire your brain to be happy, and similarly, you can rewire your learned responses to upsetting situations.

When you consistently practice speaking kindly, you strengthen the neural pathways associated with this action. That means the more you practice speaking with kindness, the easier it will become!

So, remember to speak kindly the next time you find yourself in a difficult or upsetting situation. Your relationships will thank you for it!


If you want to invite more kindness and happiness into your life, and strengthen your relationships with your loved ones, check out the a little dose of happy blog and the Do Happy App!

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