Our global population is around 7.8 billion, where each human has a unique personality, insight/opinion on the copious number of things on our earth. Day in, Day out we communicate with several people but communication isn’t just about sharing and exchanging information. We as humans, not only hear what the other person says, we also happen to notice the person’s expressions, gestures, body language and sometimes feel the person’s touch.
Many of life’s gratifications hinge on one’s ability to communicate effectively and mindfully with others. Misunderstandings are common and often take place due to past experiences, negative body language or even being too honest. This can cause problems in our relationships at home and work. So, how can we communicate effectively and understand the people around us better? How do we make our opinions heard but be compassionate at the same time? By being mindful. Just like any other skill, mindfulness can be developed. It helps us to communicate with others more effectively, and become more emotionally intelligent.
Understanding how mindfulness and compassion go hand in hand.
Being mindful is being aware of our thoughts, emotions, body language, and surroundings. It is about recognizing what we’re experiencing without judging it and then acting accordingly. When we are being mindful of our words and our body language, we are actively listening. Mindfulness teaches us to be more kind and compassionate towards ourselves and others.
We tend to have multiple major or minor disagreements with our colleagues, friends, or family members frequently. Political and moral issues seem to divide people now more than ever. Here are a few things to keep in mind when a similar situation occurs:
- We must focus on how we react when we disagree with other individuals.
- Being mindful is responding to such disagreements in a calm and considerate manner
rather than bashing someone for their views or being passive-aggressive.
- Always address the elephant in the room. This allows for better communication, mutual respect, and compassion.
Note down the following example:
You and your friend are participating in a conversation. They are expressing their grief and you keep interrupting them as you want to pour your thoughts in or quickly want to propose a “fix”. This can be problematic as your friend might start feeling uncomfortable and unheard. When this happens, your friend might feel let down. We might even make matters worse for our friend.
How can you communicate mindfully in this situation?
Most of us have some response playing in our heads before the other person has finished their story. Having a response looming while the other person is talking is not active listening. Instead, we must focus on the other person, rather than comparing their experience with ours.
Being helpful and trying to give advice isn’t wrong. Sometimes it is welcomed, sometimes not. When we speak, we must make sure that we have a calm tone and our words are respectful rather than loud. We must always remember that it isn’t always necessary to give our opinion, sometimes a hug speaks louder than words.
Being alert contributes to compassion and mindfulness
Paying attention to the non-verbal cues is also a critical step towards being mindful. Your body language speaks louder than your words. Your expressions signify whether you’re paying attention to what another person is saying. Be alert about your surroundings and the body language, tone, and expressions you put forward while making conversation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when a similar situation occurs:
- Wait for your turn to talk.
- Excuse yourself if you urgently need to use your phone.
- Don’t disrespect others by making faces when you disagree with them.
Take the following example:
Your employee decides to offer you a suggestion and you do not pay attention, interrupt them, get irritated or dislike their opinion. You roll your eyes or use your phone when they’re talking to you or are constantly up to something while they talk. Will your employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions with you again?
What can you do in this situation?
If you disagree with their opinion, after hearing them out politely explain to them that it is irrelevant or that you disagree and believe that there could be a better solution to the problem. In this case, they will feel heard, respected
So, Mindful Communication does make us more compassionate towards our fellow beings. We must step back and ask ourselves ‘What is the most compassionate response I can give?’. Even a stranger saying “Hello” with a warm smile goes a long way. The small acts of kindness in our daily lives make all the difference in the world.