These three simple rules of communication will change every relationship you have
I am so grateful that years ago, my mentor taught me what she called The Three Laws of Spiritual Communication. She explained that these rules would help inform all of my relationships. I felt like she was making a pretty big claim but I kept an open mind. It is very possible you have heard them repeated by others. I seem to hear them everywhere now. But I had no idea how right she was. I use these rules at work, at home, in almost every setting. And they have made a huge difference for me so I wanted to share them with you here today. Let's break them down in real life practical ways and have some fun with them!
These laws of communication come from Buddhism and sound so simple, yet carry so much power. Let's list them first and then break them down.
Is what you will say....
2. Necessary to Say?
3. Wrapped in Lovingkindness?
If not, DON'T SAY IT.....
Think about it lovelies, how many times have you said something to a friend or your partner only to think, "Oooh, that didn't come out like I wanted it to." And before you know it, you are in a snippy little exchange. These rules help to prevent that. Let's break it down....
Let's say you have a roommate and this said roommate forgot to take out the garbage on garbage day. And as you are getting ready for work later in the morning, you realize this as you hear the screeching sound of the garbage truck coming down the street. You run out, half dressed to fling the can onto the curb. Phew, you got it in there...But you are feeling a little irritated now at your roommate. Do you say anything to them later in the evening about forgetting to do their chores? I mean, you want them to know they didn't do what they should have right?
1. Would it be honest?...Yes, they really did forget to take out the garbage.
2. Would it be necessary?...This is debatable. I mean, you got it out in time. They are only human and what are you going to achieve by getting on their case? They usually do what they intend to.
3. Would it be wrapped in lovingkindness?...Hopefully but this could go south pretty quickly.
Maybe just forget about it? There are more important things to talk about and you have other things to spend your energy on.
Ok, let's take it up a notch.
Now you are at work and someone offends you with something they say. Do you say anything to them about this? I mean, they are usually nice and they probably didn't mean it?
1. Would it be honest?...Yep, if you were offended, that is real.
2. Would it be necessary?...You could argue this is pretty necessary. It might be hard for you to continue an authentic relationship with someone who offends you and maybe it would even impact how you work together.
3. Would it be wrapped in lovingkindness?...Here's the kicker. The first 2 answers probably imply this is a necessary conversation to have but how do you approach it? Think about the difference between saying "You were just really rude to me" And "I really value how we work together and I wouldn't want anything to get in the way of that. I am guessing you feel the same way. So it feels important to tell you that something you said didn't sit well with me and in fact, it really hurt me." Both methods are honest and necessary but the latter one stays real while holding compassion for the other person.
Alright, one more time, let's turn it up another notch....
This time it's at home with your partner. And your partner has planned a night out with his/her friends on a Friday night but you are exhausted from a trying week and the thought of single parenting right now makes you want to cry. You feel guilty because you know how necessary time with our adult friends is and you also don't want to "whine" or feel "weak." So you are waffling on whether to say anything. All the while, your resentment grows that your partner wouldn't recognize this might not be the best night to leave the house. Didn't they notice what a hard week this was for you?
1. Would this be honest?...That depends. It would be authentic if you explain that this feels like a challenging night to be on your own but not if you muddy the waters with other emotions to mask your guilt. So stay real.
2. Would this be necessary?...That also depends. If you are going to brew about it or feel it is really an oversight on your partner's part, then it is probably necessary to talk about it. If you feel like you want to just let it go and truly won't be resentful, probably not necessary. You really need to dig deep into how you are feeling.
3. And can you wrap it in lovingkindness?...assuming you answered numbers 1 and 2 in a way that makes this a conversation that needs to happen, this could go really different ways. Imagine it. It could be something like, "Are you really going to go out tonight?" (and then spiral downward from there) or "I can't believe you would go out tonight." You see where this is going. But if you want to express the same sentiment, wrapped in lovingkindness, it would sound very different. "I so want you to go out and have time with your friends and I really value that kind of self care. But I know you care about me so much and would want me to be honest and call out my needs. I just don't feel good being home on my own tonight after such an exhausting week." This starts the conversation off in a non confrontational manner while still getting the same message across.
Hopefully, you are getting the drift. And if you have seen these rules of communication on signs, on the web or just about everywhere, I hope this helps break them down in a practical way.
They have really been a game changer for me and I am so grateful that my mentor not only gave them to me but also broke them down the way we are doing right now. I can't tell you how many times in a work meeting, I have thought of saying something and the "Is this necessary?" question reminds me that it is not. And so on for all three rules.
I hope they help you. If you have examples of how you use them or stories of their power, please do share them with me. I always love to learn more ways that our relationships can thrive.
Live (and communicate) well,