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A guide to mindful communication

A guide to mindful communication

Humans are naturally flawed. As much as we intend to love and support those who mean most to us, sometimes our perception, biases and wandering minds get in the way.

This means communication does not always come easy. Misunderstandings can run rampant, emotions may become triggered, and past events will influence our understanding of the present — even, and especially, among those we spend the most time with.

Errors in communication are not inherently our fault, but there are ways to alleviate the weight of misaligned moments. Keep these tips in mind for mindful communication with friends, family and loved ones.

  1. Consider your hair-trigger reactions and aim to slow them. Sometimes, the words we hear can feel like a punch in the gut, so we react and lash out without truly thinking. Feel your emotional reaction, allow it to pass like clouds in the wind, then approach the situation with a calm heart and mind.
  1. Dig deep before discussing an issue. When someone has hurt us or done something ‘wrong’, we may only see the issue on the surface; through our initial perception of the incident. This can lead to conversations and confrontations where two people are not seeing eye to eye. Try to reflect before bringing an issue or obstacle to the table. Why does it make you feel the way you do? Is there an underlying, unrelated fear or worry? Does this affect something internally within you, rather than just externally in your world?
  1. Step into their shoes. There is a bite of wisdom called Hanlon’s Razor. It states: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect, ignorance or incompetence. This means most people genuinely do not want to upset or harm you; there are a multitude of factors swirling around everyone’s lives, all the time. Someone may have done something you dislike, but it’s essential to remember that they probably did not do it intentionally to cause hurt or harm.
  1. Give grace. We are all doing our best, but no one is perfect. Human beings are works in progress, and when we give time, space, grace and understanding to our loved ones, communication comes easier. Consider the patience or forgiveness you would hope your loved one would extend to you, then be sure to give it to them.

Communication often comes down to mindfulness; reflecting to understand our own opinions better, pausing to understand our reactions, and leaning into our sympathetic side to find common ground. The more aware, mindful and slowed-down your communication is, the more favourable the results will always be.



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