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This is really a good reminder for me to take pauses before speaking. It will deepen the conversations I have with my family and co-workers.
Awareness of this space before speaking allows to recenter in Love and so allow deeper communication and connection. Thank you. 🙏
When I do practice this type of communication, my relationships become less adversarial and more collaborative.
I took a course in “Invitation to Change” for families dealing with addiction. I learned about the “pause” and the benefits of it. It is invaluable but we also need to change that habit of speaking too soon which is not always easy.
Before my prayerful time, quiet is best. It encourages an opening.
I’m getting on here a little late today. I noticed a high volume of responses to this question. I haven’t had a chance to read them; I assume many of us feel we can employ more patience. I have a history of impulsiveness. Over the last several months I’ve been very committed to my spiritual practices (sadhana). An area of concentration is ahimsa, non-violence, and being skillful with my words. I’m finding there are many times where I don’t even have to say anything. But it is a process.
If I were to pause for a few seconds before speaking, how might it change my relationships?
TOLTEC WISDOM TAUGHT ME THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING THE TIME TO PAUSE BEFORE SPEAKING AND IT HAS NOT ONLY NURTURED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS BUT IT HAS CHANGED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY SELF. I SHARE PART OF AN ESSAY I WROTE SEVERAL YEARS AGO ON TOLTEC WISDOM AND IT’S INFLUENCE ON ME TOLTEC HAS GIVEN ME TOOLS WHICH QUITE FRANKLY LED ME TO EMBRACE THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING A GRATITUDE ORIENTED LIFE. THESE TOLTEC TOOLS ARE KNOWN AS THE “FOUR AGREEMENTS.” THEY ARE EXPLAINED MORE FULLY IN A BOOK BY DON MIGUEL RUIZ. THE FIRST AGREEMENT IS JUST ANOTHER WAY OF PHRASING TODAY’S QUESTION; BUT I WILL SHARE ALL FOUR AGREEMENTS BELOW BECAUSE I HAVE FOUND THAT WHEN YOU EMBRACE NUMBER ONE, THE OTHERS JUST FALL INTO PLACE BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF THAT PAUSE.
1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD: SPEAK WITH INTEGRITY; SAY ONLY WHAT YOU MEAN. AVOID USING THE WORD TO SPEAK AGAINST YOURSELF OR TO GOSSIP ABOUT OTHERS. USE THE POWER OF YOUR WORD IN THE DIRECTION OF TRUTH AND LOVE.
2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY: NOTHING OTHERS DO IS BECAUSE OF YOU. WHAT OTHERS SAY AND DO IS A PROJECTION OF THEIR OWN REALITY, THEIR OWN DREAM. WHEN YOU ARE IMMUNE TO THE OPINIONS AND ACTIONS OF OTHERS, YOU WON’T BE THE VICTIM OF NEEDLESS SUFFERING.
3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS: FIND THE COURAGE TO ASK QUESTIONS AND TO EXPRESS WHAT YOU REALLY WANT. COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS AS CLEARLY AS YOU CAN TO AVOID MISUNDERSTANDINGS, SADNESS AND DRAMA. WITH JUST THIS ONE AGREEMENT, YOU CAN COMPLETELY TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE.
4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST: YOUR BEST IS GOING TO CHANGE FROM MOMENT TO MOMENT. IT WILL BE DIFFERENT WHEN YOU ARE HEALTHY AS OPPOSED TO SICK. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SIMPLY DO YOUR BEST AND YOU WILL AVOID SELF-JUDGMENT, SELF-ABUSE AND REGRET.
THESE FOUR AGREEMENTS ARE BASICALLY A COMMON SENSE CONTRACT YOU MAKE WITH YOURSELF…A COMMITMENT TO KNOW YOURSELF…TO BECOME A WITNESS TO HOW YOU OPERATE; AND TO CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE TO RESPOND NOT REACT TO WHATEVER ARISES IN YOUR DAY TO DAY LIFE.
TO LIVE THE FIRST AGREEMENT (TO BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD), YOU HAVE TO BECOME WHAT PSYCHOLOGY CALLS A PARTICIPANT-OBSERVER. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE DIALOGUE IN YOUR HEAD; AND YOU HAVE TO HONOR THE FEELINGS THAT ARISE IN YOUR HEART BEFORE YOU SPEAK; AND TRUST ME WHEN YOU AGREE TO OWN YOUR WORDS, YOU WILL NATURALLY START TO TAKE THAT PAUSE. YOU WILL SPEAK LESS AND LISTEN MORE.
RUIZ TEACHES THAT TO BE IMPECCABLE MEANS TO BE WITHOUT SIN. HE SAYS WHEN YOU ARE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS, YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEM. YOU OWN THEM AND WHEN YOU OWN THEM, YOU FIND YOURSELF BECOMING MORE COMPASSIONATE TOWARD YOURSELF AND IN-TURN OTHERS. TO QUOTE RACHEL CARSON WHOSE WORDS ARE SHARED TODAY ON THE HOME PAGE, YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF EXPERIENCING BOTH “WONDER AND HUMILITY”—TWO FEELINGS WE DON’T NECESSARILY THINK OF COUPLING. YOU WILL ALSO REALIZE THAT WORDS CAN HURT AS WELL AS HEAL AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO USE THEM TO RELEASE LIFE-GIVING ENERGY.
They would be more peaceful for sure!
For much of my life I have been quick to answer.. This goes all the way back to being in school and showing that I was the “smartest kid in the class”. I’ve been working on making sure that I step back so that others have the space in which to share first. I still have to watch myself but it creates a much richer connection and engagement. I’m in a lot of workshops where I’m one of the speakers and I consciously apply the “progressive stack” approach in which people who have historically been denied access to power and privilege are the first to speak and those with more are the last. This changes my relationship to my privilege so that I am trying to make space rather than take space.
Barb, “…make space instead of take space.” I love that image!
This is a great question for me. One of my goals is to be more present when interacting with others. By pausing before I speak, by listening with intention, by asking questions, by really hearing what the other person is saying, I can deepen that connection. Thank you for the reminder 🙏
Pausing could prevent some words from coming out of my mouth that either should or need not be said. It would most likely also help to really understand what the other person said or to realize that I need clarification. What I have often found, though, is that there is an expectation of a quick response and if it is not forthcoming there seems to often be an assumption that you either did not “get it”, don’t have anything to say or are a “bit slow” This, of course, keeps turning the spiral of ping pong conversations that lack depth. The reverse would be the case when a conversation could be slowed down and infused with more thoughtfulness, which is good for relationships in so many ways.
“…..conversations that lack depth.” I just love that string of words. Fits our times.
If I were to pause for a few seconds before speaking, there would be a change in my relationships as that pause would allow me to slow down, think, and perhaps be more legato than staccato in my responses. My hypothesis is it would better, or enhance, or improve my relationships and my listening. But I think I’ve known this since adolescence the question is how do I do this; how to I learn to pause before speaking?
I think the intensity and the flavor of the conversation could change. The opportunity to listen with intent and respond accordingly.
When I respond quickly I wonder if I truly heard the speaker. When I pause the speaker may feel respected and affirmed. Then a relationship will be improved.
Of late in an effort to allow for mindfulness to come forward, I’ve started playing a chant of praise softly in the background. I’ve found that I”m calmer. able to respond instead of react. I’m hoping that neuroplasticity will expand this to other situations where I can’t play the chant.
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