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Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Few Words About Mindful Speech

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I was shocked when a teacher told me about the vicious spiral of Facebook comments among "friends" at her school.  

You might be surprised that I found this so alarming.  You might brush it off as typical high school cattiness.

Except that it wasn’t at a high school but a university. 

And not among the students, but the faculty and staff.

My point isn't to demonize the people involved.  I don't know about you, but there are at least half a dozen times I've regretted hitting 'send.'

Not to mention the couple of times I was venting at work (in one case quite nastily and unjustifiably)… and exactly the wrong person overheard.

As I mentioned in my post on The True Meaning of Acceptance, I’m learning to accept what I’ve done without condoning it.  I'm also learning to use that feeling of "oh, &!^#%@! I can't believe I said that!" as a reminder to be very careful how I express myself, especially online. 

This is why mindfulness matters.  This is why we practice. Because it makes us more compassionate toward others, and toward ourselves.

It goes something like this:
What a jerk!  I can’t believe he said that.
Oh, wait.  I’ve said some things I shouldn’t have.  I guess that makes me a jerk, too.
But I really regret what I said, so maybe I’m not such a jerk after all.
Hmm, maybe he regrets what he said, too.
Maybe I can forgive him.
Maybe he can forgive me.
Maybe I can forgive myself.

I’d argue that mindful speech is the most important aspect of mindfulness to teach, since it can have such an impact on other people.

I’ve seen it boiled down to the simple formula: 

Is it true?  Is it necessary?  Is it kind?


Say anything, but kindly.

In his new workbook for adolescents, Dr. Christopher Willard recommends that they THINK before they speak.

Is what I want to say True
Is what I want to say Helpful?
Am I the best one to say it?
Is it necessary to say it Now?
Is it Kind to this person and others?

The least we can do for our kids is set a good example.


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