Because Our Thoughts Make Sense Doesn’t Mean They’re True

Trying to find peace with the mind is like trying to open a lock with a banana…

Carol came to see me with a serious agenda.  She and her husband had had a disagreement the evening before our session and Carol wanted to explain to me why her husband had said what upset her, and specifically, what in his personal psychology and history had made him decide to hurt her. She also wanted to lay out her theories on what was wrong with her husband in a more general sense and how she was going to explain it to him so that he would understand and be different.  Knowing what she knew about him, she was sure that once she laid out her case and helped him understand what was wrong with him, he would become different—and as a result, she would be okay once again.

My client had come up with an intricate, psychologically sophisticated and comprehensive narrative about her husband’s intentions, resentments, methodology, and shortcomings, and tying in his familial history, present psychology, and relational style.  Carol’s presentation was a multi-layered, multi-dimensional, and multi-generational storyline. Most developed in her narrative, interestingly, was her theory about her husband’s strategy and intention to hurt her.

Carol was suffering and I listened empathically as she constructed her clear case for why the experience with her husband had happened. And simultaneously, what she needed to do about it or explain to her husband so that he would understand why he was wrong, and would never do this kind of thing again.  I felt her pain and frustration; I also felt how her words and ideas were trying to keep her from feeling her pain, give her some protection from her heart’s hurt, make her pain manageable. And, I felt how desperately those words were failing her.

Everything Carol said made perfect sense. In court, she would have won her case.  At the same time, I have been listening to her theories on her husband for many years, and also keeping her company in her suffering, as none of her well-crafted theories and/or action plans have changed how he behaves or how she feels about it.  I’ve watched as none of her theories and action plans have brought her happiness or peace.

On this day, I felt we were ready and so I asked Carol to consider a few new questions in relation to her story and her experience. “What if none of the thoughts and intentions you’ve assigned to your husband are actually true—for him?” I asked.  And, “What if your thoughts only exist in your own mind but don’t really exist anywhere else?”  And furthermore, “What if your narrative, no matter how true and real for you, is of no value whatsoever in making you feel better?”

It was a risk to pull Carol out of her story.  At the same time, she had been telling me her theories on her husband for a long time and I trusted that she knew my re-direct was coming from a desire to help, and also that we’d given enough space and attention to the storyline of the moment, enough so that she would be willing to pull the lens back and examine the story-making itself.  I have learned from experience that asking someone to move out of their story before it’s received its due process is not useful or kind, but Carol and I were in a place to take a new turn in our journey.

In this moment, as sometimes happens, grace graced us and Carol had an awakening moment.  Her paradigm shifted and it suddenly dawned on her that what she had considered to be the truth, not just for her, but for her partner too, might not be the truth.  She saw that her narrative could make utter sense to her, could be un-challengeable, and yet could have absolutely nothing to do with what her husband was experiencing.

Her mind opened to the possibility that her idea (and certainty) as to why her husband was intentionally hurting her might be false, for him, or just an idea in her head.  In an instant, Carol literally unstuck from her most tightly held thoughts, she surrendered to the freedom of not knowing what’s true for anyone else.  Carol realized that just because she had a thought didn’t mean she had to believe it, even if it made perfect sense in her own head.

It’s revolutionary and profoundly liberating when we grasp that our version of the truth, which not coincidentally always places us at the epicenter of what’s motivating everyone else’s behavior, may not and probably is not the truth for anyone else.  Tragically, in an effort to help ourselves feel better and make sense of our pain, to know and be able to control what hurts, we construct elaborate stories on why others are doing what they’re doing to us.  We lock in a truth, one that applies to everyone and everything, and no matter how painful that truth might be, we hold onto it, believing that knowing is far safer than not knowing.

The narrative we are living and suffering however, is unreal and unnecessary.  It’s made up by our particular mind, with its particular wounds, conditioning, experiences, thoughts, and everything else we’ve ever lived.  In the end, we suffer alone, trapped in the certainty of our story, the story of what’s inside everyone else’s head—inside a pseudo-reality of our own damaging design.

It’s also remarkable to discover that our theories on why what’s happened to us has happened, and what we need to do about it, that none of them, none of our beautiful, logical works of mental art, will ultimately lead us to peace.  If peace is what we want, our mind and its theories will not take us there.  Trying to find peace with our mind is like trying to open a lock with a banana.  The mind is simply the wrong instrument if peace is what we desire.

That said, the next time you find yourself convinced of and grasping onto a storyline about how you’ve been wronged or any such thing, ask yourself, What if all my ideas on what’s true for this other person, the world, or whatever else is the protagonist of my narrative of the moment, what if they’re not actually true—for the other, not true outside my own mind?  What if my truths are only true for me?”  See if it’s possible to loosen your grip on the “big T” Truth.

Paradoxically, when we give ourselves permission to not know what’s true, to turn in our badge as master-interpreter of everyone else’s behavior, surrender our throne as judge and jury of universal truth, blessedly, we discover the very peace we believed we could only find through our storylines and certainty.

We get there when we get there, but usually, with enough mental fatigue and smart storylines under our belt; when we’ve tried long and hard enough to find peace through the mind’s gymnastics and found ourselves again and again at pain’s door, suffering within our brilliance and certainty, knowing so much but not how to be happy, we start to recognize our banana without having to shove it in the lock for too long.


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A Woman’s Right to Have Needs: The Next Revolution

As women, we are raised to be accommodating.  We’re rewarded for taking care of others, being generous and compassionate. We learn, through a whole system of subtle and not so subtle measures, to put other’s needs before our own. We learn to keep the peace, often at the expense of our own needs.  We are conditioned, in fact, to not need. Not needing anything is considered a strength, a positive identity trait.  Our sense of self, as women, often gets built on our ability to take care of everyone and everything, and if possible, need nothing.

We learn to not be a burden, not put anyone else out, not ask anyone to do anything that might be difficult for them, require them to confront anything uncomfortable, and certainly not ask anyone to change.  When we do ask for or need something for ourselves we are often called selfish, demanding or needy, even unstable.  We are deeply conditioned to accept the short stick, do without, and find our nourishment in giving rather than receiving.  We learn, early on, that it’s not okay to ask or dare insist that our needs be taken care of.

As we grow and evolve, many of us learn how to tap into, identify, respect, and ask for what we need.  We become more compassionate and supportive of our own needs and relate to ourselves with a level of care previously designated for others.  We get better at taking good care of ourselves and most importantly, feeling the right to do so.  We matter more, to ourselves, and feel empowered.  And yet…

What remains a challenge for so many women, even those of us who are truly empowered and adept at taking care of ourselves, is still, to ask for what we need when our need is contrary to what another might want.

What I hear again and again in my office is some version of this: when we as women need something that might be difficult, or require a change in the other, a reconsideration of what the other has considered right, we are treated as the problem.  Our judgment is questioned, our validity, our right to need what we need.  We are too needy, too demanding, unappreciative of what we’ve already received and essentially, to blame for needing what we need.  We then take these judgments to heart, internalize them and doubt ourselves, distrust our needs, and more systemically, judge our very right to need.  Consequently, we tuck our needs away, anesthetize them, bury them, shame them, and get on with the business of meeting others’ expectations, accommodating, and shape-shifting into whatever it takes to keep the peace.

The result is that we suffer, not just from our unmet needs, but from the self-judgments and guilt that come from having needs at all, and daring to imagine that they matter.

As mothers, we give; it’s just what we do, usually without any expectation of receiving.  Perhaps it’s built into our female DNA whether or not we have children.  But as women, it’s vital that we learn how to receive, and also learn that we deserve to receive—not just give. It’s time that we knew that it’s our right to have needs, and not just have them but express and stand up for them, stand up for ourselves when they’re questioned.  It’s even our right to have needs that make another person uncomfortable and/or ask something that’s difficult—to “put another out” as we like to say.  (Out of where? I often ask.)  It’s important that we women not only take up more space in our professional worlds, but (and perhaps more challenge-worthy) that we learn to do so within our personal relationships, which means taking ownership of our right to have needs.  For some of us this is easy and natural, but for many of us, it is not.

We can introduce the idea of having the right to have needs and begin the process of allowing them, literally, by just saying the words to ourselves, “I get to have needs.”  It might sound simple or silly, but for some women, this simple mantra, repeated throughout the day and in difficult situations, can be powerful and transformative.  So too, we need to remind ourselves that we are not guilty for needing.  This can also be practiced through the regular repetition of such words, “I am not guilty” and/or “I am not guilty for having needs.” For some, this precise affirmation can be profound and revolutionary, often bringing women to tears as they fully absorb this truth, are given permission to own it and absorb it into their cells.  Such tears also carry with them the grief of having lived with the assumption of guilt for so many years, of taking a blame and shame for which they were never and are not responsible.

We’ve made incredible strides as women over these last few years, establishing undeniable new “No’s,” and setting strong new boundaries around what we will accept in our treatment, everywhere.  This is an extraordinary evolution and revolution.  My hope is that as we gain strength and feel the right to speak up more and more on the public front, we will also feel empowered to champion our own personal needs, the emotional ones and all the others, the needs that we stash away, suppress and numb, the needs that go unheard and uncared for, because somewhere deep down we believe we’re not supposed to have them; we don’t have the right to our own needs.

It’s spectacular to witness and participate in our awakening as women, into knowing that we have the right to be safe from sexual predators, to not be silenced, even when our words are inconvenient.  In personal relationships, we still have a ways to go.  Many of us still need to know, really know… in our bones, that we have the right to need what we need, which is no one else’s to decide or judge.  And, we have the right to receive, not just give. This quieter, more private but equally profound knowing is, I hope, the next universal truth to emerge in this astounding women’s movement now unfolding.

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Am I Supposed to Be My Kid’s Friend?

I give frequent talks to parents on issues related to technology.  After my presentations, parents ask for advice in managing their children’s behavior.  I hear similar questions and worries everywhere I go, with slight variations depending on the population of my audience.  However, I am nearly always met with one specific concern that comes in response to my more challenging suggestions, the ones our kids don’t like.

It goes like this: parent asks a question about something their kid is doing or wants to do with technology, something they’re worried about, usually the amount of time the child want to use or the kind of tech he/she is using.  I respond with a suggestion or intervention that requires limit-setting and a set of guidelines for incorporating that change.  Parent then says some form of this: “But if I do what you’re suggesting, I’m going to be yelled at or hated by my kid; it’s going to cause a huge problem.”  I usually smile and say yes.  This however seems to confuse the said parent, as if they’re waiting for me to offer a solution to their problem that doesn’t require discomfort or disagreement, a policy that’s easy to implement.  I then deliver the following, sometimes surprising news alert: “As a parent, you’re not supposed to be your child’s friend.”

We are living in a time when, as parents, we’re supposed to be our children’s best friends at the same time we’re being their parents.  Moms and dads hang out with their kids as if they’re hanging out with peers.  When there’s a disagreement, parents believe we’re supposed to negotiate with our kids as if we’re negotiating with equals.  Parents of seven-year-olds report to me (with a straight face) all the reasons their child doesn’t agree with their decisions regarding the child’s behavior.  I see parents of children under the age of five who get an equal vote in setting up the rules of the house, which includes the rules that will apply to the children.  I hear the delight of parents who are friended by their kids on social media.  We’re spoon-fed the message that we’re supposed to be buddies with our kids and that they should like us, all the time.  And, that we’re bad parents if they are upset by our decisions.

We have thrown away the distinction between an adult and a child, undermined the wisdom of our adult experience, all so that we can be liked by our kids. We’re choosing to be our children’s playmates rather than to do what’s best for them.  There’s no wonder kids now hurl profanities at their parents in public places, to which the parents giggle awkwardly, and wonder if this too is part of the new hip friend/parent milieu.

As parents, we’re taking the easy path, the path of least resistance, telling ourselves that if our kids like us we must be doing this parenting thing right.  In the process of trying to be friends with our kids however, we are giving away our authority, depriving them of the experience of being taken care of, denying them the serenity, trust, and confidence that arises from knowing that we can stand our ground and protect them even when it incites their anger.  It is precisely because we love our children that we need to be able to tolerate their not liking us all the time.

When we’re driven by the desire or responsibility to be liked, we’re giving ourselves an impossible task.  We simply cannot prioritize being liked and simultaneously raise healthy, sane, human beings who can tolerate frustration and disappointment.  We are setting ourselves up for suffering and failure.  We survive on the ephemeral crumbs of being liked—liked for giving them what they want, while denying ourselves the real nourishment of the experience of providing our kids with what we know they really need, pleasing or otherwise.  We are, as with many other things, opting for the easiest, most immediate and pleasurable option over the deeper, harder, and more thoughtful and ultimately satisfying choice.

We are also, in this friending over parenting process, doing a great disservice to our kids.  Our kids need boundaries and guidelines.  A woman I work with who was raised by a parent who, above all, wanted to be her friend, put it this way: “I never felt like there was someone to stop me if I got to the end of the earth and was going to dive off.”  Our kids, even though they may scream and throw things, also want us to know things they don’t, to stick with our wisdom despite their railing, to be willing to tolerate their rants in service to their best interests—to take care of them in ways they can’t yet take care of themselves.  Our kids want us to demonstrate fierce grace.  So too, we feel our best when we walk the walk of fierce grace.

Often, children do not know what’s best for them, and almost never do they know what’s best for them when it comes to technology use.  It’s hard enough for us grownups to realize what’s best for ourselves and children have front brains that are not anywhere near fully-developed.  Allowing children to make their own rules around technology is like handing an opioid addict a vial of heroin or a bottle of oxycontin and asking him to make his own rules whether or not to us.  Young children and teenagers should not get an equal vote in matters that relate to their tech use, nor in many other matters. As parents, we usually possess at least a couple or more decades of experience under our belt that our children don’t possess. Put simply, we know things they don’t, and we can tell them this truth. This makes our kids not equal in matters that require discipline or hard choices, ones that go against what their brains’ pleasure centers, hormones, or inexperienced thinking tells them is best.

Remember this: it’s okay for your child to be upset with you; it’s okay if they don’t like or agree with the decisions you make; it’s okay if your child is madder than a wet hornet at you for setting limits and sticking to those limits. You’re allowed to say no; it takes great courage to say no.  You’re not a bad parent if it gets bumpy and your child goes through periods when he/she doesn’t like you—at all—and maybe even says she hates you for a while. It probably means you’re doing your job as a parent.

Assuming your role as the authority in your child’s life is critical and the more you assume that role, the more you will feel the wisdom of your own authority.  Being the authority doesn’t mean turning a deaf ear to your child’s anger, disappointment, or anything else they feel.  We can listen to our kids’ emotions and thoughts while simultaneously holding our ground on what we know is best for them.  Being the authority in your kid’s life doesn’t mean being callous or insensitive, it does mean being brave enough to stay strong in the face of a tsunami that might come back at you, knowing that your role is to be the grown up in the parent-child relationship, to be loving in your willingness to do what’s best for your kids.  Your role is not to be your child’s friend.

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Do You Need “Amazing” Experiences to Feel Alive?

Experience is the new it thing. We’re experience junkies, chasing experiences like storm chasers chase tornados. Walk into any shop and it’s all about the experience—free water, espresso, salespeople that like you, home-baked cookies, in-store entertainment, shoulder rubs, and the list goes on. On social media, it’s all about posting photos of ourselves having amazing and of course one of a kind experiences: swimming in a pool of foam balls, navigating an ice palace before it melts, escaping an escape room, diving inside a real-life snow globe, scaling a mountain of jelly beans or a modern Mr. potato head, imagining your way out of an Alice in Wonderland maze. And not to be forgotten, the stand-alone experiences to enhance our well-being: sound baths, mindfulness sessions, impromptu (not) sing-alongs, nap packages, chanting, stretching sessions, love parties (not to be confused with other kinds of love parties), workout jams, isolation tanks, and the like. We’re officially addicted to experience.

I’ve purchased and participated in a lot of these types of experiences and the feeling I almost always walk away with is one of emptiness and a low-level despair. There’s a depressing quality to the whole experience of experience-chasing. These cool, unique, manufactured experiences feel inauthentic and disconnected and I’m left with a deep feeling of meaninglessness and alienation. I’m supposed to feel like I’m participating in the experience, part of what’s happening, but I actually feel like I’m a witness, and specifically, a witness to the end of the world. The experience itself feels isolated and disconnected and that’s exactly how I feel, no matter how loud the music’s pumping or yummy the snacks taste. So too, I walk away with an awareness of relentless chasing, of getting caught yet again searching for something outside myself to make my life complete. I’m left with a deep sense of the tragedy of the human condition. The emotional residue from these “amazing” experiences is a sense of disappointment, not just for the event, but in myself—that I bit the hook yet again, buying into the dream, the illusion, that my well-being or even happiness could be found in yet another unique experience, which like everything of this sort, will disappear even quicker than the pop-up shop it’s housed in.

We’ve turned experience itself into a product. No longer “in” life or part of the stream of life, we consume our experiences like we would any other object. As a result, we’re cut off, alienated from our direct experience, like fish trapped inside a baggie floating in the ocean—eternally thirsty. We crave the flow experience—full immersion in an activity, with no separation from experience, no separate “I” who’s living it. And yet, the more we crave immersion, the real experience of living, the more we’re compelled to create and consume these “amazing” representations of life, which only intensify our alienation from life.

So too, social media has convinced us that we’re supposed to be living a spectacular life without interruption. “Amazing” should be the norm. Extraordinary should be our ordinary. Why shouldn’t it?  Everyone else seems to be living an “amazing” life. We’re inundated with photos of those hanging off catamarans in Ibiza, clinking champagne glasses in Bali, dining on lobster at the coolest rooftop bar ever created, zip lining through a rain forest canopy, or just floating in the infinity pool of a lifetime. Why not?  It’s up to us to go and get it.

That said, we’re constantly searching for that fabulous experience that will make our life fabulous, and perhaps most importantly, make us fabulous. We’re always trying to keep up with the competition, to not end up the loser in the virtual war of comparison. There’s enormous pressure, all the time, to be doing something uber interesting, different, that no one else has ever done; we’re in search of that great experience that makes it sound like we’re someone who really “has” a life.

The effect of all these “amazing” experiences on us, paradoxically, is to drain the “amazingness” out of our lives. If we’re not experiencing something unique and extraordinary, we feel our lives to be boring, empty, and even meaningless. And yet, so often when we consume these manufactured experiences, we’re left back where we started: bored, empty and without a sense of meaning. Our pursuit of fun and the never-before experienced causes us to stop noticing and appreciating the mundane and routine, which is most of life. We’re putting all our eggs in the “amazing” experience basket and turning away, ignoring the vast majority of what makes up a life.

In the endless search to create aliveness, we deaden our appreciation for our inherent aliveness, the profundity of just being. Here, no matter where we are, disappears in our relentless quest for the next “amazing” there.

The more we chase experiences, the more convinced we become that meaning lies outside of us, in the next experience, the next hashtag.  And, if we could just find the right foam-pit/champagne-bubble/zip-line/haiku combination, we’d be okay. There would be a place we want to be, a place where we can finally be satisfied.

Furthermore, these one-off experiences are not connected to us, not integrated into our lives.  They don’t arise organically out of who we are. And perhaps more importantly even, we haven’t put any time or effort into creating them. We are just the disconnected consumers, ready with our Smartphones to record the sparkly emptiness. Real enjoyment happens, most often, when the experience is connected to us in some way and we have some skin in the game. While interesting in the moment, sometimes, the taste we’re left with is of our own craving and failure to create connection and meaning. But because the message is so strong that we can find what we need outside ourselves, the more we fail, the more desperately we search.

It’s important to ask ourselves what we’re looking for, really looking for, when we chase after experiences. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing interesting and fun things, being entertained or even distracted, but we seek experiences, often, with deeper ulterior motives, sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious. We chase unique and amazing experiences to complete us, create an interesting life, believe or prove that we are somebody, satisfy our longing for meaning, and many other reasons. All experiences are impermanent; they will end, and as such, cannot be fully satisfying.

We’re confusing new experiences with life, believing that life is something we have to go out and find, schedule, buy, and usually, post. We’ve forgotten that life is already happening with or without our effort; it’s already here, and the fact that this moment is happening is already “amazing.” We want to remember this and pay attention to what’s here in between the bubble pools and escape rooms. In truth, experience is happening without our needing to do or buy anything.

Where are your feet right now? Can you turn your attention here? What’s happening here? What’s to be learned from here? And maybe even, what’s already amazing about here?

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Mindful Speech: Using Your Words to Help Not Harm

When we want our kids to express themselves in ways other than tantrumming or throwing peas at the dog, we say “Use your words.”  But I often wonder, do adults really know how to use our words skillfully, in ways that help and don’t harm?

This morning I was on a train listening to a mother talking to her young son. The mother’s words were unkind and deliberately hurtful, in a way that demonstrated their damage instantaneously.  Yesterday I worked with a couple who came to see me to learn how to communicate better. For an hour, I listened to both of them using their words to criticize and humiliate each other.  Last week I said something to a friend that was not helpful for our relationship and not skillful in terms of expressing myself in a way that she could hear.  Add to all that, I just received an unsupportive email from a family member telling me all the reasons why I was wrong (and he was right) about something we had discussed.

It’s been a week of thinking about words, those spoken as well as those left unspoken. We’ve all had the experience of saying something and wishing we hadn’t.  And, we all know that once we do say something out loud to someone, we can never really take it back.  In Buddhism, there’s an important practice called “Right Speech.”  Right speech is part of the Noble Eightfold Path, the fundamental, eight-part instruction manual for  ending our suffering.  According to the Buddha, our own wellbeing is built upon the practice of not lying, not slandering, not using unkind or abusive language, and not gossiping.  In order to end our own suffering, we’re taught to speak truthfully and use words to promote harmony and understanding, reduce anger, and most of all, be helpful.

Sometimes I read the Buddha’s words on words and think about how radically different our world would be if more people practiced his version of right speech, as a path to happiness.  We’re living in a time when communication is constant and words are cheap; we throw our words around on social media and the like as if they hold no consequences and are without any real or lasting impact on those who receive them, and our world. Because we don’t have to witness or hear the impact of our words online or via text, we’ve forgotten (or are purposing ignoring) the effects of the words we choose to put into our world.

As we age, our relationship with words and speech changes.  When we’re young we tend to believe that what we have to say is extraordinary, original, and right in some overarching, universal way.  We have a strong need to be known and recognized, to establish who we are.  It feels important thus to have our words heard and to use our words to correct any wrongs we encounter.  Our words are representations of our self; without them, we don’t feel we exist.

But as we evolve and hopefully a bit of humility sets in, we often realize how little we actually know, how much less we have to say than we thought.  And, how much has already been said by those before us.  So too, we recognize how many versions of “right” actually exist—in addition to our own. If we’re lucky, we start to lose the sense of awe we have for our own words.  Furthermore, we come to understand how powerful our words actually are, how deeply the words we choose impact our relationships and our own wellbeing.  If we’re paying attention, we assume a greater sense of responsibility for the words we put into the world.

In my own life, I’ve been actively paying attention to and practicing (or doing my best to practice) right speech for some time now.  I do this in many ways but three in particular stand out.

First, I consciously try to use my words to provide support and encouragement.  Before speaking, I think about how my words can point the other person towards something positive in themselves, something they do well or that might feel helpful.  I see my words as having the potential and purpose to remind another person of their own goodness and possibility.

Second, I choose to relieve my words of the burden of having to perfectly and completely capture my actual experience.  Words are powerful and at the same time layers of experience exist that are not conveyable or formulate-able with words. And so, rather than demanding that my words be absolute representations of my experience, and furthermore that I be understood by others, completely, through my words, I now accept that some of what we live internally is simply is not language-able…and that’s okay.  It has to be okay because it is.

Finally, I used to believe that when my partner said something I disagreed with, it was my responsibility to explain why he was wrong.  I felt I had to engage with and correct the wrongs I perceived.

Right or mindful speech, blessedly, has taught me how to say less not more.  I now practice restraint of pen, tongue and thumb.  Not speaking, writing or texting when I feel bothered or perceive a wrong, has in fact been most significant in my practice because of how directly and deeply I feel its results, both in myself and in my relationships.  It turns out that silence, particularly at the times when I most want to use a lot of words, is in fact more powerful than anything I could say.  Saying nothing says a lot.

Practicing right speech, I see that when my partner says something I don’t agree with, remarkably, I don’t have to say anything at all.  I can leave anything and everything just as it is.  I don’t need to change anyone else’s ideas to own my own ideas; my truth does not depend on adjusting anyone else’s truth.  My partner and everyone else can have their experience and I can have my own, simultaneously.  If it’s something that we need to find consensus on, perhaps something about the kids, I can also choose to press the pause button when I hear something that feels very wrong.  I can say nothing in the moment and take time to think about what I want to say, if anything, and how to say it in a way that can be helpful to the situation and that the other person can hear.  I have learned, in fact, that I have all sorts of choices in how to employ the power of speech.

I have discovered that relationships run far more smoothly when I take the path of saying less not more, and even nothing at all sometimes.  And, that the peace I’m trying to create through words, the peace that is always my end goal, is paradoxically maintained through the absence of words.  It feels miraculous every time I say nothing and simply let go without a response or reaction, other than silence.  This, for me, is emotional freedom.  Many moons ago, Mahatma Ghandi beautifully used his words to say this: “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”  And I would add, before using our words, we can ask, will these words help or harm?

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