Category: Communication

How to speak mindfully

How to speak mindfully

words

There are two components to communication. There is the speaker and there is the listener. So when we talked about mindfulness in communication, we must remember that mindful listening is equally important, not just mindful speaking. Since we have covered mindful listening in a previous post, today we will cover mindful speaking.

Just like mindful listening, when we talk mindfully, we should start by dropping whatever it is we are doing and just focused on what we want to say. Again, it is important to establish good eye contact with the listener.

In addition to these two points, here are a few extra tips to speaking mindfully.

1. Clear your head of all assumptions

It is always a good idea to clarify what the listener already knows instead of making assumptions that he already knows it. Then it becomes easier to tailor your speech to what is relevant to him. Likewise, the listener should also make it a habit to verify and clarify any points he is unsure about. Making unnecessary assumptions can lead to misunderstanding.

2. Before you speak, pass it through the Triple Filters test

Whenever we communicate something, it is important to reflect first before we say it. The Triple Filters test, attributed to the wisdom of Socrates, is a good way to reflect on what you want to say. The first filter is TRUTH. Is what you say true? If it is not, do not say it. Even if it is true, we then need to filter it at the next level.

The second filter is GOODNESS. Ask yourself, is it beneficial to the listener? Will it do him good, or otherwise? If it will not benefit him, or may even harm him, what would be the wisdom of saying it to him? On the other hand, if it is true and good, then we pass it through the third and final filter.

The third filter is APPROPRIATENESS. For appropriateness, we need to look at whether it is appropriate in time, in place and in person. Is it the right time to say it? Is this the right place for it? Are you the right person to say it, or is this the right person to say it to?

Passing your speech through this Triple Filters test will make sure that your motive for speaking is good and not due to some hidden selfish agenda.

3. As you are speaking, be mindful of a few things

The first thing to be mindful of when you speak is to notice whether the words you choose are appropriate and accurately send the message you intended. Next, watch the tone of your voice. Is it friendly and warm, or hostile? Is there any hint of criticism or judgment? Be mindful also of your body language, gestures and postures. Remember that a warm friendly speech is always more welcoming than a harsh speech, and the listener is more likely to be receptive to it.

It may be difficult to be mindful of all the above when we first practice mindfulness in speaking, but as with all skills, with constant practice it will become easier. Once you have become good at it, you will notice the transformation in your relationships with others in a positive way.

How to Listen Mindfully

How to Listen Mindfully

Recently my 11 year-old son talked to me about a piece of drawing he had just completed. While he was explaining his drawing to me, my eyes were on the ipad in front of me and I was nodding to every statement he made. He then paused for a while and said, “Daddy, I feel like you are not really here for me when I am talking to you.”

Sadly, this type of mindless listening happens way too often for most of us, and is often the source of many misunderstandings and relationship problems. It also sends a wrong message to the other person – one that says “You are not important to me right now” or that “I am too engrossed in my own thoughts to bother with your needs”.

It is important to remind ourselves that attentive listening is a major component in our daily conversations. This becomes even more important in relationships that we treasured, such as our relationships with our spouse and children, our parents, siblings and close friends, and even colleagues and clients at work.

So, here are five tips to remember when we listen to another in a conversation, so that we may become a better and more compassionate and mindful listener.

1. Stop whatever you are doing

It is good to remember that whenever someone wants to talk to us, it means that they have something that they considered as important to say or share. We should stop whatever we are doing and turn our full attention to that person instead to continuing with our task. This first step is important because when we stopped what we are doing and turn our full attention to that person, we are indirectly telling him that he is important to us. This habit also benefits us in the long run as it reduces our habit of being too self-centered or self-focused to the detriment of others.

2. Maintain eye contact

Have a good eye contact with the other person. This will indicate to him that you are ready to listen and that you consider what he intends to say to you as important enough to give your full attention. Not maintaining any eye contact with him sends the wrong signal that he is not important enough to warrant your attention. It is also socially considered rude to not establishing eye contact with another person when he is talking to you.

3. Clear your head

Often we start off our listening with lots of thoughts and preconceived ideas in our head. This is neither accurate nor helpful to us when we want to listen compassionately to another person’s story. What we want to achieve is to understand what the person is telling us, from his perspective and his unique needs. By remembering to clear from our head all these preconceived ideas and thoughts, we put ourselves in a better position to be totally with that person when he talks.

4. Do not assume

Be aware that we often have the habit of making assumptions or taking for granted certain things or norms as true without actually establishing their truths. So, when listening to another person, consciously set a new habit of not making any assumptions at all. This means that we will have to listen with impartiality, without any prejudgments or biases. Furthermore, if we are not sure of any facts, we should ask pertinent questions to establish the facts as truth or otherwise. Clarifying a statement made not only shows that you are listening but that you are trying to understand well what the other person is experiencing or going through.

5. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

Empathy is key to compassionate listening. So learn to put yourself in the other person’s shoes or see from his perspective. Recognize that his perspective of life can be and is often very different from yours. Just because he is experiencing life from his perspective does not make it wrong, just different. So avoid the common habit of judging him from your own perspective of life.

If you are able to remember these 5 tips whenever you listen to another person, you will be a good and compassionate listener.

5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it

5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it

What are you doing to brighten the lives of your aging parents? Bringing a little light and happiness into their lives will leave a legacy of love your own children will emulate.

An article by Gary and Joy Lundberg

Most people love and appreciate their parents. We don’t doubt that. The problem is, parents can’t tell this unless you show it by the way you treat them. Sometimes adult children can bring heartache to their parents without realizing what they’re doing. We’ve boiled it down to five main ways this happens. If you are a parent of adult children, you may recognize some of these. If you’re the adult child, you may be in for an awakening. As parents age, their physical needs may change but their need for your love never does. Check to see if you’re doing any of these.

1. You don’t call them much

Time just flits by, and you realize it’s been a month since you last called your parents to check on them or to share what’s happening in your life. You may be thinking, well, they can call me anytime they want. There’s no question; parents need to call their children, as well.

Here’s the thing, they don’t know your schedule, and they don’t want to interrupt you at the wrong time. Or they don’t want to trouble you with their problems. And yet, they want you to care. You need to take the initiative and call them, at least some of the time. Even just a short call to see how they are feeling. Ask them what they did that day then share what you are doing. Be sure to include some good news. Too often, the only news shared is the bad. Being in on at least part of your life will bring them more happiness than you can imagine. If they lay on a lot of unwanted advice, just say, “Thanks, Dad, I appreciate your concern. I was just thinking about you and wanted to know how you’re doing.” Don’t forget to say, “I love you.” That’s music to their hearts.

 2. You ask them for money

Some kids only call when they need money. Don’t do that. In fact, don’t ask them for money at all. You’re an adult and capable of providing for yourself and family. Your parents have worked hard for what they have, and they deserve to keep it for their needs. As their lives wind down they have no idea what expenses lie ahead. They need that retirement nest egg for the unknown. It’s comforting to them to have that security. We know some children who’ve bled their parents dry, and then when the day came and the parents needed the money to live on it was gone. That’s not fair. Don’t ask your parents for money. If you owe them for some you’ve already “borrowed,” pay it back as soon as you can. Lovingly help them protect what’s theirs. They need to be able to enjoy it in their later years.

 3. You forget their birthdays

Parents love to be remembered on their special day. It doesn’t have to be a fancy celebration, just a remembrance. You know how you feel when you receive a gift from them. They aren’t much different. They like it, too. Find out the things they enjoy. A young couple we know gives their parents a gift card to their favorite restaurant, and they thoroughly enjoy it. If you don’t have the money for a gift, you surely have the money for a card. Receiving a card in the mail from an out-of-town child brightens any parent’s day. A phone call is great, too. If you live nearby, drop by with a hug and good wishes. Let them know you’re thinking of them, and wish them a happy birthday. You might even add, “I’m sure glad you were born. I love you, Mom.” Some children invite the family over to celebrate a special birthday. Turning 70 is a lot more fun when you’re surrounded by those you love.

 4. You don’t offer them your help

You may be thinking, hey, I told Dad to let me know if there’s anything I can do for him, but he hasn’t told me of anything. He’s probably hesitating because he thinks you’re too busy, or he’s afraid you didn’t really mean it. How about suggesting something to him? Look around and see the needs. Older people are advised to stay off ladders because their balance is impaired, and it’s too risky. How about offering to come over, climb that ladder and clean out their rain gutters. A friend’s son recently did that for his parents, and they were extremely grateful for the help. A little help from you will go a long way in helping your parents feel loved.

 5. You don’t include them in your family events

They don’t need to be included in everything but for the main events, invite them. They want to be part of special occasions, such as holiday dinners, a baptism, a concert your child is in, weddings or a vacation. Let them enjoy being with you and your family when it fits. Sometimes just an invitation to Sunday dinner at your house will brighten their day. If they invite you and your family over for dinner, accept the invitation and show up.

Is this what you want?

Look at how you are treating your parents and ask yourself if this is the way you want your children to treat you when they’re grown. They are learning how by watching the way you treat your parents. It’s a lesson they won’t forget. If you’re not measuring up, it’s not too late. You can make a change this very day. Begin by picking up the phone and calling your parents right now.

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