Our words have power (remember the rice experiment from my post on January 27, 2015?) They are impactful to ourselves and to others. Some words of wisdom, some rules to live by, that I have found helpful are from the poet Rumi, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?”
You take one gate at a time and move through the process to determine what, if, when and how this communication should take place.
Gate #1: Is it true?
Is what you are about to say true? Is it factual? This not only addresses whether the communication is hearsay, but also whether it's based on perception. Use this gate to determine if this is perception or fact. If it's truth, you can move on to Gate #2.
Gate #2: Is it necessary?
There is an old yogic wisdom that goes something like, “If your words aren’t benefiting the universe don’t say them.” The idea is don’t allow your ego to do the speaking.
Another way to look at this one is to ask yourself, "Does it add value?" and/or "Does it improve the silence?"
This also brings up the concept of being right. Sometimes we feel a strong need to be right at all costs. You may want to ask yourself, "Do you want peace or do you want to be right?"
If it's true and it's necessary, you can move on to Gate #3.
Gate #3: Is it kind?
Is what you are about to say kind and compassionate? Is the timing of it being said kind and compassionate? Are the words and the phrasing that you are choosing kind and loving or frustrated and harsh?
You are the gatekeeper of your words. Sometimes we need to take a moment to stop and to think before we speak. It helps me to stop and take a deep belly breath in and then push it all out a couple of times. This helps me to interrupt my normal pattern, my normal response, my normal mode of operation and consider a different approach...which may include silence :)
Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? I invite you to answer these 3 questions before you speak. What do you think about passing through these 3 gates before speaking? Is it a worthwhile practice? I would love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a comment or send me an email.