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3 Ways to Have Less Stressful Conversations

Glenda Van Koot
davidji Certified Meditation Teacher
Founder of Pathways to Serenity with Glenda

 

“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!)

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.

There’s a very simple solution that I teach and honestly try to live by. This is where the benefits of my meditation practice appear – it’s made me much more aware of when my communication skills are lacking.

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?  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?

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?


Glenda Van Koot is a certified davidji meditation teacher and the founder of Moonset Meditation. She lives in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada. Visit her website at serenitywithglenda.com

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