Hello Beautiful Flowers
This Lenten season my focus has been towards my awareness of the words that come out of my mouth. I wanted to be mindful of how I use language with others in my life. I wanted to spend time exploring the actual words that I use and how they impact my relationships.
I call it mindful silence.
When am I talking when I should be silent? When do I interrupt so that I can talk about myself? Are the words that I am using building up my relationships or tearing them down? Am I fully present and open to the dialogue or do I allow my mind to wonder or start thinking of my response before they have even finished?
What I am realizing is that I talk WAY too much. I am catching myself wanting to say things that are ‘throw away’ comments — comments that do not benefit the conversation. I have also discovered that I have a strong need to ‘match’ conversations — if someone tells me they have a minivan, I tell them that I have a minivan, if they say they’ve been to a certain country, I tell them where I have been, if they tell me their favorite color is purple, I make sure they know it is also my favorite color.
I think that relating to someone’s story can be important. It can create a common experience that often unites us; however, I am noticing that I do it all the time. With this awareness, I am now practicing being more mindful of when it is best served to share a common experience with someone and when it is better that I allow someone to tell me their story without me taking the story and making it about me or what I think they should do. I am finding that people are more willing to continue their story, go deeper, become more vulnerable — when I just listen.
This is most evident in my relationship with my husband and children. I am hearing out my husband differently. I am allowing him to finish his entire sentence before cutting him off with my own thoughts. I am allowing my children to tell me more details without telling them to get to the point. This has unfolded into incredible self-awareness for our children. There have been several conversations where I have experienced them problem solve something in their life — all on their own — just by keeping my mouth shut and allowing them to talk without interruption.
Mindful silence has helped me to take a step back to see where my words are not fruitful, it has also allowed me to experience others in a gentler manner. It has allowed me to hear God more clearly and because I can hear God more clearly, I feel like I am able to contribute to dialogue in a more meaningful and positive way. Mindful silence is changing my relationships and I love what I am learning about myself and others.
For You and Me
Good and gracious God, thank you for the gift of language. Help us to be mindful of the words that we use and how they impact those around us. We ask for your grace to use language to show others your love to all that we meet. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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