Thoughtful, Engaged Communication Changes Everything

Part of what I love about living in awareness is learning to speak from my soul and being engaged when I listen. Engaged speaking and listening for me are about being attentive, putting myself in another person’s shoes, observing their body language, listening to the tone of voice and being aware of their feelings.

I’ve learned engaged communication and listening by experience and the hard way. I used to react, speaking and offering my opinion defensively and too quickly. Everyone suffered and tensions were always high. I was unhappy with myself, so I made a concerted effort to pay attention to the others in the conversation instead of being so self-absorbed. I’ve learned to really listen, think, then respond with a peaceful, loving presence, no matter who I am talking with. Responding takes more effort than reacting, but it is worth it when the conversation ends and no one is angry, tense or upset.

Talking without thinking, half-listening while we wait for a pause so we can talk causes disconnection, misunderstandings and suffering for everyone involved.  We have been conditioned to believe that it’s okay to talk whenever we want, cut someone off without any thought about the other person. What we’ve learned can be unlearned when we make the effort and we care enough to consider others involved in the conversation, no matter who they are or how they are in our lives.

The Method 

The method I use works whether on the phone or speaking person to person. When someone else speaks, just listen, think and then speak. I am not referring just to those you know and love, I am also talking about everyone that is in your life for whatever reason.  Have you ever heard the quote,  “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”, it is helpful, no matter who you’re speaking with to apply that theory to all communication so it will be productive and conclude peacefully.

Since I’ve applied this method, even the toughest people who I’ve come across are more at peace and relaxed when we speak, even when the conversation is two opposing opinions or the other person is tense. I hold a space of calm and understanding no matter how the other person is behaving, it isn’t easy, but it is the way I choose to be, you can too, it is definitely worth a try.

Here is a video that I found helpful. This psychotherapist offers more ways to learn how to communicate thoughtfully.

Thank you for stopping by, namaste

Remember Careless Words Cut a Heart Like a Knife

words-can-hurt

Our neighbor is in her early 20’s, she has a four-year old, a two-year old and she is pregnant. It never fails that at some point every day we could hear both she and her husband yelling at their children and then we would hear them crying.

I’ve met the girls they come into my yard to play with the dog and give me flowers. They are beautiful and sweet. I understand the challenges of being a young mom, I was one. But no matter how stressed we are, there’s no excuse to speak without thinking. Uncontrolled, thoughtless words are as painful as a slap and stay in the memory forever.

I’ve been there myself.  When my son was a teen we got into a heated discussion, it ended with words that I couldn’t take back. Even though raising a teen alone can be tough and I apologized, I still remember the pain on his face after I’d thoughtlessly spewed words in anger. While we are close now, the memory of that incident lingers in my mind.

Food for thought: Please stop, take a breath and think before you speak no matter how you feel because once the words are out there you cannot take them back. Mindful and thoughtful communication is the gateway to compassion and more harmonious and loving relationships.

The Word

“It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.” Buddhist Philosophy