My Mom always talked about 3 gates of speech:
My Mom always talked about 3 gates of speech:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it about the person you’re talking to?
There are so many things to be cognizant of that often, we may not realize what we are doing. When communicating, there are so many things to think about if we want to be considerate all of the time, it is very difficult.
I’d even add one more that I heard recently,
Is it necessary?
The way that my mind works, I think about both sides of everything fairly quickly. So, when I think about things being true, kind, and about the person that I am talking to, I think about the flipside fairly quickly too.
As I went into on Sunday, there are often not many positive things that result from someone being not nice or unkind. And, obviously, not everyone is nice, and certainly not all the time, and most definitely not always in the way that we would like them to be.
So what happens when someone shares something that is not true? Well, we may believe it.
I remember quoting John Maxwell a few weeks ago, “the worst excuse is a good excuse, because then you believe it.”
I would say the same thing about something false.
Someone can tell you that it looks like you have gained 10 pounds since Christmas and if they give enough merit, you might actually believe that it looks like you have.
Someone can tell you that you are a fantastic singer, but you might not actually be one. What if you end up believing that you are a fantastic singer and you pursue that? You may miss out on your true talent.
What if someone says something that is not kind?
Our initial reaction may be fight or flight. We may either get defensive and assert ourselves, or we may get defensive and protect ourselves.
Are either of those good things though? Probably not. In a perfect world, neither of those things would need to be considered in the first place. We would not have to worry about someone saying something unkind to us.
Yet, as I reflected on Tuesday, being nice is extremely hard, especially when one tries to be kind consistently and to everyone.
What about the third gate, is it about the person that you’re talking to? If not, what is the purpose of sharing something?
To me, this is one that I am not too too sure on. I would not particularly say that this is to be followed all of the time.
Let’s look a little story I heard that I think reflects this point well:
One day after school a young girl noticed that her mom was cutting off the ends of a pot roast before putting it in the oven to cook for dinner. She had seen her mom do this many times before but had never asked her why. So this time she asked and her mom replied, I don’t know why I cut the ends off.”
If we only talk about the person with us, this may be where the conversation ends. But, if we were to talk about someone else, then the conversation might continue as it does below.
…So this time she asked and her mom replied, “I don’t know why I cut the ends off, but it’s what my mom always did. Why don’t you ask your Grandma?”
Now, that shows that there will be pure communication as a result. All that the girl has to do is call her grandmother and ask her about cutting off the ends of the pot roast which, if you’re familiar with the story, her grandmother will say that the oven used to be too small for the full pot roast to fit.
Without that part of the conversation about another person, there would be no closure, no solution, and no better method. Without the mother telling her daughter that she only cuts the end off the pot roast because her mother did that.
I would personally say that rather than thinking about whether or not something is about the person, we should just determine whether the thing that is going to be said is considerate.
Does it benefit the other person?
It may not directly benefit them, it might not benefit them right away, but it may benefit them. This is a huge huge question in my eyes. We cannot always please people, but, we can always be thoughtful and considerate and as a whole, we can look out for the well-being of the other person.
The final part, is it necessary?
This is subjective. What I think is necessary may be different from what someone else thinks is necessary. I think that this is something that needs to be determined coherently between people in a relationship. Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within, talks about the things that people believe should happen or should not happen and must happen or must not happen.
So, with that in mind, what one person thinks is necessary, another might not think necessary at all.
For me, I like to be connected to those that I consider close to me. I want to know what happened during the day of people that I care about, tell me what happened and tell me what you thought or how that impacted or affected you. That is what should happen, but I might almost say that is a must happen also, especially if I am not near a loved one. So, in response to this, I also want to know how I affected or impacted them.
Now, not all of those things are going to be kind, but they better be true and they better be about me. So, are they necessary to share? Everyone might not think so, but I think it is necessary.
So with this all in mind, that most of the time things should be true, kind, and about the person we are speaking to, we should probably speak less. It is said that the average male speaks 40,000 words daily and the average female speaks 50,000 words daily. What does that mean? What are we actually saying with all of those words? It might not be too much and it might not be all necessary.
But, I hope that all that we say is kind and true and considerate.
The next thing that I want to expand on is how to say things that might not always be kind and true and considerate. Also, how to interpret things that might not always be kind and true and considerate, or they at least do not seem to be.
I hope that this piece of writing today satisfied all 3 gates of speech
I hope it was true
I hope it was kind
I hope it was about anyone who reads it
And, I hope it was also necessary, I certainly feel that this is an area where I can improve, and I would like to believe that many others could grow and would like to grow, in this area also