My kids came home from school with a new saying. “Zip it. Lock it. Put it in your pocket”.
We recognized a simple Pre-school lesson could help our family communication and a fun way for them to start to learn to hold their tongue. To learn not to interrupt. To learn patience. To recognize not every thought must be shared and not every shared thought must be shared right now!
For so many of us, we are still struggling with this preschool lesson! How many of us interrupt? How many of us think of what we want to say the entire time someone else is talking? Do we jump into conversations others are having without an invitation? Then of course some of us are unpaid professional advice givers (we are usually the ones who don’t take any advice so we have heaping portions to dole out).
After adopting my brother at age 14, I did an experiment where I had him write “stop” on his left hand and “think” on his right hand. I found myself using that trick again with my 12 year old. She is in expert in all things! Just bring up any topic and you will discover just how omnipotent she is!
However, don’t knock blunt and direct speech! It is often what parts the sea of bullshit and hits the heart of matters. We can be in danger of being too measured! Like with so many things – timing is everything! So is working toward balance.
For those of us who talk more than we listen – listen up!
1. I often run what i’d like to say by a third party! Sometimes once I’ve talked with said third party, I’ve discovered the best course of action is no action!
2. Other times I agree to sleep on it! Perspectives often change on a good nights sleep. When under pressure, I might excuse myself to the restroom in order to collect my thoughts.
3. We have a saying in our house “stay in your own hoola hoop”. How much time do we all waste analyzing, talking about, focusing on and thinking about others business? Therefore not taking mindful intent to tend our own personal growth.
4. When reflecting on next steps, one of my favorite Big Book passages comes to mind:
“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We to not tire so easily for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.”
What I have learned is the more I work on, and master these things, the less likely I am to ‘unravel’; even under intense stress or pressure.
5. 3 questions to ask yourself before you speak…
1. Does this need to be said.
2. Does this need to be said by me.
3. Does this need to be said by me NOW!”
6. “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
At the first gate, ask yourself “Is is true?”
At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”