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  • Thich Nhat Hanh

The Art of Communication


Words are food. We digest them. When someone says something hurtful or we say something hurtful, our system takes it in. We have the capability to nourish or to create pain just by the words we speak.

Speak your truth. If you don’t want to do something, say no. Instead of coming up with an excuse, be honest about why. The truth is always to the highest good of everyone. It’s not selfish to say no. It’s not selfish to put yourself first. It is actually the most generous thing that you can do because when you take care of yourself, you’re not only showing up for you, but you’re able to authentically show up for other people too.

Arguments are tricky. We get triggered by something and then all of a sudden things are flying out of our mouths that we may not necessarily mean. Don’t let an argument last more than 5 minutes. Say, “I hear you and I hear what you’re saying. I need to take some time to digest this and think about it.” This way, you are not creating a negative exchange of energy with a person and you can come back to them later through eyes of clarity.

People want to feel seen and heard. It doesn’t sound like a lot to ask, but it’s so rare that we actually get that now! In The Art of Communicating, Thich Nhat Hanh says that the most precious gift we can offer someone is our presence. To receive another person’s undivided attention is so healing and validating.

FROM THE ART OF COMMUNICATING

“Self-understanding is crucial for understanding another person; self-love is crucial for loving others. When you’ve understood your suffering, you suffer less, and you are capable of understanding another person’s suffering much more easily. When you can recognize the suffering in the other person and see how that suffering came about, compassion arises. You no longer have the desire to punish or blame the other person. You can listen deeply, and when you speak there is compassion and understanding in your speech. The person with whom you’re speaking will feel much more comfortable, because there is understanding and love in your voice.” -Thich Nhat Hanh


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