Family Focus
 
SPEAK WITH LOVING KINDNESS                      Dr. Richard Carlson
 
It’s easy to get into the habit of speaking behind the backs of others, speaking in a harsh or sarcastic tone directly to others, saying mean-spirited or negative things about life and other people, mumbling something disrespectful under your breath, gossiping, and other assorted varieties of negative speech. Unfortunately, this habit, as innocent and harmless as it may seem, does have some far-reaching consequences.
 
Setting aside, for a moment, the obvious fact that speaking harshly isn’t a kind thing to do, let’s consider some of the additional, perhaps less obvious, consequences. To begin with, speaking in a negative or harsh tone can be received as degrading or hurtful by another person. No one – especially our own family members – appreciates being attacked, and everyone almost feels bad as a result. The act of being on the receiving end of a verbal attack encourages defensive reactions, even retaliation. There is no question that it detracts from the love in your home.
 
If the attack isn’t direct but takes place behind the back of the other person, this too is a sign of disrespect. It doesn’t give the person being attacked the chance to defend himself or herself.
 
If you catch yourself saying something mean (however slight), see if you go on to have a wonderful and peaceful day. My guess is that it won’t happen very often.
 
There’s a way in which speaking harshly (even slightly) disrupts the harmony of our day. It makes us feel a little off, negative, critical, and suspicious. But the reverse is also true. When the vast majority of our words stem from kindness and love, we feel an accompanying sense of peace and fulfillment, knowing we are doing our part in the creation of a kinder world.
 
No one is perfect, and we certainly all slip up from time to time. However, most of us (myself included) have plenty of room for improvement. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll do my best to speak with loving kindness as much as possible if you will too. If enough of us take this message to heart, we will all live in a more loving and patient world.