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5 ways to be more mindful in your everyday words

photographed at the mustard seed market (boone, nc)

As I’ve grown older, I’ve began feeling a great sense of weight in my words.

How do you convey the person that you are, the mind and soul you carry, through your words?

I find myself thinking back on words I said months or even years ago. Reflecting back, I feel regret for saying things that held me in a light I didn’t wish to be portrayed in.

Will that person ever know my true intent? Why is it easier for some than others to convey who they are at their core? Am I struggling between the words that are there and the person that I want to be?

So many questions begin to cross my mind when pondering about the words I’ve said and the ones to come.

The greatest challenge I’ve found is stopping my mind from churning after the handful of regrettable words that have come from my past self.

Resolving this issue seems simple. Move on from the mistakes you have made, learn from them, be more mindful in the words to come.

Easier said than done, do you agree?

Here are a few ways to help us all be a little more mindful in our everyday words:

1. Think Before You Speak.

There are many times in life where I have spoken out of emotion and later regretted it. While it may not be possible to turn off your emotions, it is possible to think forward in your emotions. Many times we say words that spread hurt out of anger or fear. Do we want to spread hurt? Will this make you feel any better or will it make you feel worse? Most likely, your intent is not to spread hurt but to protect and defend yourself from hurt. Be mindful in your words and show vulnerability when it matters most. If you aren’t able to give yourself the space to do this in the moment, then simply ask for time to gather your thoughts and come back to the conversation. Ensure you do come back to it though or else you risk unresolved conflict and greater emotion the next time around.

2. Be Positive.

Propose solutions rather than problems. Communicate your vision and resolution for an issue rather than just the issue itself. Highlight the positives in a negative situation as best as you can. If life has taught me anything, it is that things can always get worse and you are more well equipped to get through it than you believe. When you find yourself getting down on things, make sure to take a step back to look at the full picture. Most times all it takes is a quick perspective change and some gratitude to change an unfavorable situation.

3. Take Responsibility.

Before you point the finger, reflect on what changes could have been made on your end. Many times we dial in on every single mistake another made but tend to brush some of our own mistakes under the rug. Are we counting every single one of our triumphs and every single one of the other’s failures? Take responsibility for your own short comings and take the time to appreciate the others triumphs. Use this as an opportunity to truly view a conflict from both points of view. Can you say that your actions had absolutely nothing to do with the result? If so, great! If not, take the time to think about what you could have done differently before you’re so quick to place blame.

4. Show Kindness.

Alway communicate with compassion and understanding. How often do you regret spreading kindness over hate? This brings to mind the golden rule - treat others how you wish to be treated. No person in life has come out unscathed of hurtful words. We all know how it feels to receive kind words and we all know how it feels to receive hurtful words. How do we feel about the people we have received kind vs hurtful words from? Which person do we wish to be to someone else?

5. Talk Less, Listen More.

There comes a time when words aren’t what is needed. Many times we even don’t have the words to say, overcompensate by saying too much, ending in saying the wrong thing. If you don’t have the words just yet, listen. Take the time to practice deep listening. If you don’t have the words yet, maybe you don’t have the full picture just yet. Allow the person enough time to express all they are feeling and the full situation. There is a lot to be said about a person who can deeply listen and most times you’re communicating a lot in your silence. You are communicating support and care for the other’s words. If you are putting so much thought into your own words, don’t you think others appreciate you hearing words of their own?

This may not be a full resolution but remember that mindfulness is a practice before it is a state. Let every moment be an opportunity for awareness and a space for insight.

What words will you spread into the world today?

Will you provide solutions or problems? Will you spread compassion or hate?

Take the time to be mindful in your words today.

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