I live in a quiet household. My husband and I don’t talk much anymore. This is not the cold silence of two people in conflict. It is, rather, a relaxed companionship.
“Yogic tradition has it that speech must pass before three barriers prior to being uttered aloud. These barriers come in the form of three questions: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?” – Prem Prakash
Kind – this morning my daughter, who is temporarily serving as my Personal Care Assistant complained that we are not telling her when she’s doing things right. We only point out where she has gone wrong.
If I am aiming to be kind, I will speak to encourage people. Yes, sometimes I need to let people know that what they are doing is not the best way to care for my body, but even then, I can be kind about it. Kindness requires that I take a moment to imagine how my words will be received.
True –I teach a Creative Journaling class called “Befriending Your Mind.” In a section I call “braving the monsters,” we look at our negative thoughts. Using Byron Katie’s “the work,” we ask “is it true?, Can I absolutely know it’s true?” So often, the answer is no. To speak truth requires that I think about whether what I’m saying is objectively true. If it’s an opinion or feeling, I want to label it so. That makes communication more clear.
Necessary – this is where life gets much quieter. My afternoon PCA speaks like a burbling spring. She frequently repeats the same stories. I want to talk enough that I make true connection with people, but not so much that my speech is constant. As my breathing gets more compromised, my tendency is to stay silent. The danger of it is that I don’t let people know who I am. Connection is important.
For the rest of this month, I’d like to sift my communication through this sieve and notice if and how things change.
Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?