Philosopher Alan Watts considered words to be like living organisms, spreading like a virus—helping or harming as they go on their way. The impact of the words you choose directly affects your partner, friends and family. To be mindful of speech means to notice your intention before you speak and to use words that accurately reflect what you are trying to say. In the busyness of our daily lives we often forget this aspect of mindfulness, yet communication is the centerpiece of social interactions—whether in speech, twitter or email. We’ve all said things that we regret, and once the words are out there, they can’t be returned. Words possess incredible power: the power to wound or the power to heal, the power to destroy or the power to build up.
You will find that the words you speak can help you control the world around you. Your relationships can be happier and more fulfilling when your speech is intentional and carefully chosen. Thought becomes deed through language. Speech acts are powerful because most of the actions that people engage in -- in business, in marriage, in parenting -- are carried out through conversation. But most people speak without intention; they simply say whatever comes to mind. Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose.
We can unintentionally become experts at launching verbal missiles at our partners. Think about the words you speak to your partner-do they give life or death to your relationship?
1. When speaking to each other alone. Do you listen to your partner’s views completely before giving your suggestion or advice? It goes a long way to fostering positive communications. If your partner has a suggestion or wants to do something, avoid contradicting them or saying ‘no’ immediately. Instead, voice your negative opinions through calm questions so your partner can see your perspective too. It’ll help you both to look at the relationship as a team effort instead of a battlefield of opinions and who’s “right”.
2. In social settings- Being respectful towards each other in front of others is crucial to maintaining harmony in your relationship. Don’t oppose your partner’s views unless you’re joking- and make sure they know that you are joking. Try not to interrupt your partner mid -sentence just because you feel they’re not explaining something well, as this can cause resentment. Join in the conversation, but never overpower your partner.
3. Share a sincere Compliment. Compliment your partner often, and don’t just restrict it to physical traits. Compliment them about their job, their personality and anything else that you genuinely feel. When your partner believes that you have a high opinion about them, it creates more emotional intimacy and rapport within your relationship.
4. Fighting Words Arguments, confrontations and disagreements are a regular affair in a relationship. But even in an argument, avoid words that are sarcastic, belittling or condescending because once they’re out there, they can’t be taken back.
An argument in a relationship never has an individual winner. So stop using words that will make your partner feel lousy. And at the end of every argument, no matter how much you just want to walk away, apologize to each other and hug and make up.
Use these tips to speak with intention and remember- choose those words wisely!