Have you noticed lately the way people speak to one another? I suppose I am what you would call old school, but I still have a great appreciation for respect and kindness. I don’t hear much of that these days.
People constantly blurt out all manner of comments, remarks, and insults, then shrug and explain that they have no filters. I guess that is one way of looking at it; maybe just not what I would call it.
Without getting into a discussion of generation gaps and stodgy old rules that don’t hold up in today’s world, it is my belief that we can never be too kind to someone else even if that person is acting unkindly. I would like to offer a way in which we might move ourselves in the direction of more meaningful speech.
It is called the three gates and consists of three questions we can ask ourselves before we speak. They are short and to the point and will quickly let you know if what you are about to say is best left unsaid.
First, is it true? Do you know for certain that what you are about to say is true? Or is it gossip, hearsay, or opinion? If it is false, it is best to keep it to yourself. If it is true, proceed to the second question.
Is it kind? Oh my, how unkind we can be to one another! Is it because we are mean-spirited? Maybe. More likely it is because we have been hurt or angered and can get the most mileage out hateful or harsh words. So ask yourself if what you are about to say is kind, benevolent, considerate. If it is true, move on to question three.
Is it necessary? Have you ever noticed someone who speaks many words but says very little? I expect you know someone like this. Maybe it is you. Often we have to get in the last word. We have to have our say. We have to prove our point. Will your words add to the conversation? Are they essential to ensure understanding? Or are they just words on top of more words?
These three simple questions are guideposts to let you know if you are on the right track when having a conversation.
Communication. We engage in it every day. Being mindful and taking time to ask ourselves if our words are true, kind, or necessary can make a world of difference. And we could sure use some difference in our world today.
Are you courageous enough to walk through the three gates as you speak with those around you?
Kind is better!
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If you try out this method, I would love to hear how it works out for you. The questions are simple, but remembering to ask them and being honest with ourselves may not be easy. We can do this. I believe taking positive action around our speech really will help make our world a better place.