"The instinct to be just can provide great cover for the destructive part of the ego self, that part of us that unreflectively manages our lives. One of the most common statements of the destructive part of the ego self is ‘giving a piece of my mind.’
It is not too hard to find the motivation for giving someone a piece of your mind. It usually comes down to justice: ‘they deserve it,’ ‘they can’t get away with it’ ‘I have to let them know what I think of them.’ Giving someone a piece of our mind, then, usually falls under the category of retributive justice. They have run afoul of some aspect of the moral law (you or someone you care about) and they must now experience retribution, in the form of the aforementioned piece of mind that you are going to strike them with.
The motivation is clear, but the consequence - not so much. I ask two questions of those who seek my counsel as to whether they should give someone a piece of their mind or not. 1. What consequence are you after, ideally? 2. How has it typically gone when someone gave you a piece of their mind?
Usually, these two questions slow people down and they reflect (i.e., they move from their ego self to their higher self). “What exactly am I after?” Often, they don’t know, other than a vague desire that the other person will suffer from remorse. Actually, just causing the other person to suffer is good enough for some.
If one wants to repair a relationship, the piece of mind you are getting ready to offer them is usually not the piece most conducive to an ongoing relationship. If you aim to downgrade a relationship, you can typically play your cards a little closer to the chest and get the same result. Why should you? You really never know when that relationship might be worth restoring. And, and this thought is unsettling, you might some day arrive at the conclusion that the piece you gave them was in error. You actually perhaps needed to give them a piece of your mind with “I am sorry” written on it.
The destructive part of the ego self loves to nurse a wound, to formulate our case against others, and lashing out. That part of us is often like one of those prosecutors who gets (or should get) debarred, the kind that are more interested in a conviction than justice.
Spiritually speaking, we should be more like a judge than a prosecutor. We should train ourselves to see our claim in the matter as just one among many, and to be truly curious about the other side of the story, curious enough to ask.
The judicious part of ourselves does not rehearse the claim, but rather aims at getting the facts, understanding all sides, determining both what is right and wrong but also what is the wisest way to proceed. Now and then a well-put piece of your mind is required to set someone straight; often there are better ways to get what is ultimately the best thing.
The instinct to give someone a piece of your mind is sometimes just the need to verbally punish someone, dressed up in moral finery. We are better off tempering the drive for retribution, and cultivating the drive for wisdom.”