“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” Despite your best efforts to be that person, have you ever found you have some days where you’re just a little less than that shining star? (Even if you don’t have a dog!)
I was prompted to write this post by ‘conversations’ I’ve been witnessing on social media and by what we’re seeing, reading and hearing on the news and in every day life.
I’ve seen times where responses to simple questions or statements come across as aggressive and mean-spirited. Or perhaps that wasn’t the original intention but someone else sees it that way.
And then sometimes despite the best efforts of the original poster to make amends and clarify what they’ve said, the responses continue in the same vein.
I’m going to guess that if you read any information sources or social media, this type of communication is not unusual and you’ve been witness to it too.
The same can happen with in-person interactions in the workplace, as you go about your daily activities and in your own home.
These less than stellar conversations can be exacerbated by how you’re feeling at that moment. If you’re tired, frustrated, or simply having a challenging day, your communication style may be less than positive.
I did it myself recently when my daughter told me for the umpteenth time (that morning) that I needed to do something with the very ripe bananas we had sitting on the counter.
“You don’t have to bite my head off!” was her reply to my terse response that I knew they were there and would get to them. Nope, not how I want to ‘show up’ with her or anybody else.
There’s a very simple solution that I teach and honestly try to live by - although obviously I didn’t do a very good job with it that morning. This is where the benefits of my meditation practice appear. it has made me much more aware of these mis-steps.
You only need to remember three things before speaking or responding in a written form.
The Three Gates.
Gate #1 - Is It True?
Is what you are about to say absolutely true? Are you sure? Are you 100% positive? Or is it your perception of what’s true?
A conversation that I witnessed recently was most definitely a one-sided perception. How do you know - for sure - what the other persons intent is?
Now you are speaking for them - and that’s your truth - not theirs.
Gate #2 - Is It Kind?
If you’ve passed Gate 1, you can move on to Gate 2.
If you’re saying something, can you say it kindly? You may not feel very kind at the moment, but that doesn’t mean the other person needs to take the brunt of your bad mood.
If you give yourself a moment to stop and take a deep breath (16 seconds works well here), in the heat of the moment I bet you can come up with a kinder way to speak.
This rule can be applied to any conversation - not just those that involve confrontation.
No matter what you say, can it be said in a kinder more positive manner? This can be as simple as telling someone what they need to hear quietly or in private if it could be embarrassing or uncomfortable in front of others.
Gate #3 - Is It Necessary?
Okay, now that you’re sure you’ve passed Gates 1 and 2, here’s where the next challenge comes in. This one can be a toughie!
Do you really need to say it? Is it going to be helpful? Is it useful? Is it going to further the conversation in a positive manner? Or is it merely necessary to you because you have something you want to get off your chest?
I believe the concept of The Three Gates is becoming more important than ever. So much of our communication is now done through the written word and it can be easily misinterpreted.
I’ve seen people try to politely and apologetically extricate themselves from conversations but the other person continues to aggressively fight back, making (and defending) the same point over and over again. That is most definitely not kind or necessary.
In-person interactions can change radically when you use The Three Gates.
At home or in the workplace, perhaps someone does need to be told about something that they’re doing incorrectly, but if you can follow these rules, their self-esteem and desire to do a good job can be increased exponentially.
Gossip and speculation can be stopped in its tracks, usually right at Gate #1. We must remember that our perspective or opinion is not always right - or the only way to look at something. I know - that can be challenging to admit or realize.
I’m not trying to sugar-coat things or say that its easy. I’ve had people say that if they had to pass what they’re saying through The Three Gates that they’d probably never say anything. Well…..maybe that’s a good thing!
If you’ve managed to pass through Gates 1 & 3, perhaps Gate 2 will help you have a more measured positive form of communicating. Can you imagine what a kinder world we’d live in if everyone followed these rules?
When you speak (or write) you can be the person that your dog sees - with everyone! You just have to remember: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
A little later that same morning my daughter made another comment about those bananas. You can bet my response was more measured and pleasant that time. I spoke the truth in a kind manner - that I was going to get to them. It was necessary to answer because she asked. She didn’t however jump on my idea that perhaps she would like to bake the cake if I got her the recipe. C’est la vie!
Hi, Glenda here sharing my thoughts with you. I've discovered that what I really do is help people find more peace in a way that is real-world, practical and accessible to anyone. I'm a Certified davidji Masters of Wisdom & Meditation Teacher, a Reiki Master and facilitator and host of retreats and workshops. I welcome your comments and appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or would simply like to reach out.