speak kindness

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 the other person doesn’t deserve it. Instead, you speak words that are healing and empowering. This opens doors to mutual understanding and conflict resolution.


Kindness is important, but it can be hard. 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 language that is positive and affirming. 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 person you’re talking to.


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, “I’m sorry you’re feeling upset. I’m here for you.”


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.


Man with eyes closed


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


1. Take A Step Back


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


If possible, 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, calm mindset. Don’t respond out of anger, even though it might be tempting.


2. Pay Attention To What You Say And Do


Make sure to choose words that are honest, but are also thoughtful and caring. Speak in a slow, steady, and calm voice. 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 usually two sides to the story. It’s important to remember that just because someone is upset with you, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person! Similarly, just because you’re upset doesn’t mean that 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 that you need to agree with them, but it shows that you care about how they feel.


For example, you might say something like, “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 that 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. If you can, avoid making assumptions and instead ask questions to clarify the situation.


friends chatting


5. Listen Actively


In any conflict, it’s important to listen to the other person’s perspective. This can be difficult to do when you’re feeling upset, 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 that you have some great advice to share, sometimes it’s best to just listen.


After they’re done speaking, repeat back what you heard to show that you were listening. For example, you might say something like, “I understand that you’re upset because I was late to 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, it doesn’t mean that 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 being a great friend with your original comment.


This doesn’t mean you need to condone their actions, it means that you need to hold 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 the dishes in the sink.”


Making “I” statements helps to take the focus off of the other person, and puts it back on you. It also shows that you’re taking responsibility for your feelings, instead of putting blame on the other person.


8. Practice Forgiveness


One of the best things that 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




Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, sometimes it’s best to just 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 something like, “I’m sorry that 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 to 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 could be resolved, or how you can prevent it from happening again in the future.


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 others.


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! Right in time for Kindness Week 2022 as well!


Mastering how to speak kindness when you’re upset may seem daunting. However, it’s one of the best ways to cultivate relationships that are 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 that the more you practice this, the easier it will become!


So, next time you find yourself in a difficult or upsetting situation, remember to speak kindly. 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!