“If you have an over-preoccupation with perception and trying to please people's expectations, then you can go mad.”
The 12-Step folks say, “What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.” I like that, and remind myself of it on a regular basis. But most of us, regardless of how imperious we may be, feel wounded by criticism. There is a very fine line between speaking honestly, and being critical. It is a line that I tread on it almost every day.
It's important to be sensitive, and to try in every circumstance to be kind. But there is also justifiable reason to be honest; to be authentic in expressing the way you see the world. Sometimes those two can clash, and you have to choose which is more important. And, of course, some of us are more diplomatic in our manner of speaking. And some of us have no concern at all as to whether we are offensive; we just say whatever drops onto our tongue, and let the chips fall where they may.
Part of becoming conscious is being aware of how our speech, and the content of our words affects others. An important question is, do our words actually express our own truth, or are we just saying what we think will please? If we are callous with other people's feelings, that says more about us than about them. If we are always trying to say what someone else wants to hear, that also says more about us than them. Wrestling with one's authentic thoughts and mode of expression is important soul work. It's far easier to simply say what is expedient in the moment, or to strike and wound with words, than to thoughtfully consider what to say. The danger is that you lose yourself that way. You wake up one day and realize that you have no idea what you believe, think or feel because you've been so busy trying to please others, or being strident and opinionated.
This is not meant to encourage you to beat yourself up for all the insensitive things you've said in your life; only to make you aware of how you speak yourself. I, personally, need that reminder every day, since I tend to be a plain-spoken—some would say blunt—person. Part of the quest for consciousness is confronting and accepting that we aren't perfect, that we aren't always right, and that other people have a right to their own opinions even when they don't agree with us. Note to self: It's okay to disagree—just try to do so in a kind way.
In the Spirit,