Communication and Right Speech

Right speech can go one of two ways in my opinion: 1) You speak only when you have something to say that is honest, wholesome, encouraging, constructive, positive or any combination thereof, or 2) You say nothing unless you have to. For several weeks, I attempted to make option 1 my goal.

However, I realized rather quickly that well, I’m a human being and I’m going to be harsh, critical, and negative sometimes. It’s difficult to be positive in speech when you’re angry or frustrated. I know, I’ve tried. Lately, I’ve taken to just not talking in general. Unless I’m chatting with a friend or someone, I’m just not interested in talking much.

The problem with this is that I feel as if I’m becoming more and more isolated. Yes, I’m staying out of considerable amounts of drama that is of no concern to me, but at the same time, I feel like I’m missing opportunities to engage others in dialog. This, to me, is lacking in the modern Western culture… with texting, email, the internet… people don’t often take the chance to speak face-to-face with other humans. How else are people, especially young people, going to learn to communicate with others in work, school and their personal lives? How else are people going to learn the nonverbal cues of communication that often is much more telling than their words?

Here’s what I’ve been quite introspective about as of late: How can I communicate best in a particular situation? Is it to not say anything, to share my opinion in a cautious and caring way, or is to be open and honest while considering the feelings of the person to whom I’m speaking? I’ve been trying these out in situations where I think they’ll best fit and overall I think I’m doing pretty well.

At work, where I have an abundance of time to think about anything and everything, I’ve essentially stopped talking. My work is such that chatting to make the time pass is common and people are regularly joking and sharing details of their lives. I have opted to stay out of these conversations, aside from the occasional lighthearted comment. This has an unfortunate side effect… the days DRAG on. I find myself watching the clock compulsively.

That is not to say that I have not had very deep and interesting talks with people at my job, because I most certainly have. But these discussions are during breaks or after the brunt of the work load has been completed. I enjoy these types of conversations more than any idle chit chat throughout the day could ever compare to.

I feel as if talking one on one with someone about higher level topics (and sometimes nothing more than a tee-shirt tan line) enables me to connect with those parts of communication that mean so much. Being able to share ideas and thoughts, even if they may not match my own, respectfully and thoughtfully is something I didn’t realize I was missing until I consciously brought more of it into my life.

Recently I saw a picture of what someone spray painted under a bridge. The words said “Fear is a liar”. This struck a deep chord with me because I am not immune from fear and it frequently rules my life. This is something that has made it often difficult to communicate with any degree of courage or strength. In a way, it’s become my new mantra and using those words has allowed me to overcome fear in a few situations where I needed to communicate courageously and clearly.

Anyway, this is what I’ve figured out so far in my quest: fear holds you back from being able to communicate directly and courageously, idle chatter is often nothing more than a time filler, finding people to share ideas with is crucial to Right Speech because it allows agreement and disagreement to happen and for me to act accordingly, and courage is a much larger part of communication and Right Speech than I ever imagined.




~ by wendemachete on June 12, 2012.

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