Five Simple Steps to Help You Communicate More Mindfully
The way we communicate with others defines us as much as what we do. Our words reveal our character and can create a negative or positive impact on those who we live and work with.
It might even not be intentional. You are in a hurry, and you blurt something out too quickly.
Or you choose your words carefully to inflict the fullest impact.
And the worst, you enjoy gossiping at another’s expense.
Whether it’s intentional or not, you are creating a vibe that is either positive or negative. Our words have the ability to help or make people feel bad or stupid. Regularly, how well do you think you communicate with people in your life?
It’s something to think about.
And consider this, humans are the only species who can speak.
That’s right; the spoken word is a gift given only to us. A study in Frontiers in Neuroscience concluded that it might just be a matter of anatomy. Our non-human fellow primates have a larynx and a vocal tract, but not the neural control to make complex sounds.
We should handle our gifts with care.
“Be impeccable with your word” is the first of four in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements.
“Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
Our words create our world. They have energy and as you’ve no doubt heard, like attracts like. If your words are harsh or untrue, we create a negative atmosphere and attract negative people into our lives.
It’s that inner world creating our outer world.
What type of life do you want to create for yourself and those around you? Who do you want to attract into it?
Communication style is a habit as much as anything else. My mother was the queen of sarcasm, and my family finds a quick, sarcastic wit humorous. I found that many people do not share my enthusiasm for it.
And yes, it took practice to change this habit.
How can you change the way you use your words?
- Actively listen to what the other person is saying.
Make eye contact. Don’t interrupt
- Be empathetic.
Try to see the person behind the words.
- Be present.
Being present goes along with actively listening, but it also means being mindful.
- Don’t gossip.
Resist the temptation to take part in conversations that center around passing on that juicy bit of news about someone. Chances are they’ll be talking about you when you’re not around.
- Hold your tongue.
When someone says something to piss you off, take a breath before you reply. Or don’t reply at all. Leave them with their nasty words.
- Be honest in the gentlest way possible.
Look someone in the eyes and just say it. Try smiling to lighten your words.
It’s all about habit
Good communication is good manners. These steps are simple but not easy.
Give yourself time. Try implementing one good habit at a time.
The vote is out on this one, but breaking a habit varies depending on how ingrained it is. Some studies say 21 days; others say 66. Err on the safe side and try a month.
You’ll know the new habit has taken root when you do it without thinking.
Then move on to the next thing you want to change and watch your world change.
Marilyn is a writer, spiritual medium, reiki practitioner and well-preserved grandma. She lives by the ocean with two friendly but destructive cats and travels regularly on the country’s oldest transit system. She loves connecting with her fellow scribes and readers on Medium. If you want to comment or read more of her writing click here.