When we are speaking we are creating.
The words have energy. This is written in a number of the spiritual and religious texts. Many philosophers have written about the power and energy behind words and anyone who has been involved in a persuasive argument can agree.
I have a favorite book that talks about the power and life of words called Words as Eggs, by Russell Lockhart. The idea behind this title is how we speak our images into words and they, then mold our perceptions. Words are symbols, and they have both universal and personal meanings which is to say they are multi-level in their meaning causing both clarity and confusion in their use.
I find this is a useful concept when speaking to oneself or thinking about one’s circumstances as much as a useful concept in communication. When speaking to oneself often the style is to get down on oneself, to say negative definitive things that create a negative internal sense of oneself. An example of this is to say things never go my way or I am going to do a bad job at my presentation or I can’t do anything. These statements send out a negative energy vibration. They shift ones internal position from neutral to negative thereby giving power to the words to create the negative expectation.
A better more mindful way to deal with fears and anxieties is to say I am afraid that I will not perform well but I am going to do my best and believe in myself. This allows for the fear to be acknowledged and the negative power of creating that which is feared to be neutralized. This speech when combined with specific examples when you have been successful in the past allows for the negative energy to be dissipated.
A word may have the meaning attached to it from the accepted dictionary as well as charge from ones own experience with the word. This can create a dissonance in communication if one assumes that all others fully understand the word choice.
This is important from the perspective of mindful speech. Especially when in a position of leadership, parenting, and relationship. I like to look for feedback from the person with whom I am communicating to determine if my communication has gone in the way I intended. If it has they will be on the same page with me, if it has not their response will seem to be out of sync with my intended communication. I can then retrace with them what word or thing I said (or did) that caused them to go in a different direction than my intended communication.
The best way to remain in mindful speech is to be both descriptive and empathic when speaking. To pause and consider how you are presenting the information. From a parenting perspective it is helpful to consider setting boundaries by saying what you want to see from a positive perspective for example: To a young child in a store full of breakables you might say Be gentle rather than don’t touch. The first identifies a way in which to be that sets a careful boundary but allows the child to develop her skills at touching and not breaking. The second sets a boundary but gives the child nothing to do but stay still. This may be what you want under certain circumstances but as a rule it doesn’t provide guidance to developing an internal boundary and skill at touching without breaking.
In relationship mindful speech allows for the continued development and negotiation of the relationship without blaming or divisiveness. Again providing information in a positive and inviting way is better than a negative and blocking style. Unless the goal is to end the relationship, at which point clarity in the boundary and concern is best still with description and specificity.
An example of positive collaborative mindful speech is to say I am having difficulty with something about how we are interacting. I would like for us to work on this together to resolve the problem rather than take opposite positions that push us further apart. Following this it is best to describe with non-charged words what you experience as a problem in the relationship. Using description and inviting collaboration to create a mutually positive resolution is best.
Mindful speech is an attitude and communication style that you can develop over time. As you become more acquainted with how you bring yourself out of a mindful speaking place you will be able to easily move yourself back to neutral. This will also assist you in moving those you care about to neutral as you are interacting.
Keeping your attention on mindful speech will help you to focus your energies to create exactly what you want with the least amount of strife and the most ease.
Once you are doing this in a natural fashion then you will be role-modeling this behavior for your child. This will become an easy way to re-focus the situation when things go awry.
See you tomorrow.
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