During a trip to India when I was a teenager, a wise man shared his words in a kind manner, he taught me something which created a change within me and shifted my behaviours. Perhaps he didn’t know at the time that I would often refer back to this experience and even write about it twenty years later, or perhaps he did. The key thing here is that the way he shared his words were kind, they were of benefit to me, they were a truth and principle he lived by.
Whenever we say something, there will also be an impact on the ears they fall upon. When we say things with love, kindness and compassion, the listener is filled with love, warmth and belonging.
Words said with anger, bitterness, jealously, pain and hurt will touch the heart but with a negative and potentially damaging impact.
Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
We have so much power within us that the words we use can change and transform the listener in ways that we do not realize. Words of love create lives of dreams and bliss, words filled with negativity can create lives of sadness and fear.
So many greats have done just this, Dr Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. The all used words and rhetoric to create an impact and bring positive change in the world.
Don Miguel Ruiz stated “be impeccable with your word” as one of the Four Agreements. Our words are our thoughts and as such when we say things lovingly or non-lovingly, they reflect how we feel inside.
What we do not realize, even more so, is that the person or people you say these words to will absorb what and how something is said and behave accordingly. A happy loving person can be made into a sad and desperate person just by the way they are told something about themselves.
So, let’s become aware of what we say and how we say the things we do.
The Three Gates
There is one method we can follow to help us say things that create love, joy and positivity to those around us.
Davidji refers to them as the “Three Gates” which are also known as the “Rule of Three” (Quakers) and the “Three Questions” (Socrates).
The Three Gates requires we ask ourselves three questions before we say anything, these are:
Gate 1 – Is it true?
Is whatever you are about to say based on a truth and data-fact. Does the information come from a creditable and reliable source?
Gossiping is an example which can be used to illustrate this point. When we share gossip about others, do we really know the details and information to be a truth. If no, then it’s best to stop the sharing of information.
If you are going to share a truth, then move onto the next gate.
Gate 2 – Is it kind?
Is whatever you are about to say full of kindness and compassion? Will the words hurt or will they damage the person?
You may be about to share negative news to someone like a break-up or job-loss but saying with love and compassion is key.
In the words of Paulo Coelho, “telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile”.
If what is going to be said is not kind and not coming from a place of love and compassion, then it’s best to stop the process there.
If this is kind, then move onto the next gate.
Gate 3 – Is it necessary?
Is whatever you are about to say necessary and relevant to a given situation? Will it create improvements and add value?
If this is necessary and relevant, then go ahead and speak your words.
Knowing we possess the power of words, let’s take a few moments to reflect before we say the things we say.
Monica Mahi is a Meditation Teacher, Lifestyle Consultant and Management Consultant having worked in both London and Dubai for the last fifteen years.
Don Ruiz Miguel is the author of The Four Agreements.
Davidji is an author and spiritual master having written The Secrets of Meditation and Destressify.
Paulo Coelho is an author, having written many books, including The Alchemist.
May Angelou was a poet, writer and civil rights activist and wrote the world famous “I know what the cage bird sings”.