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On Loving Speech August 8, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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Recently I have had the opportunity to practice loving speech. Since I’ve moved back from Ontario, I have spent some time staying at my parents’ house, with my brother also staying with us. Many times I have watched myself resort to critical and negative speech, despite my view of myself as a dedicated practitioner of the five mindfulness trainings. Nevertheless, I am committed to practicing loving speech, despite the great effort it can take and the many learning experiences I encounter.

Visiting my parents has made loving speech particularly challenging, in part because I am not used to living with so many people at once in a small space since I was a teenager. Also, I feel constricted at times by my family’s best efforts to make conversation with me and catch up after being away for so long, where often I’m really not in the mood to visit.

Perhaps the biggest reason why I’m finding loving speech challenging is because I find myself drawn into old habitual ways of thinking, speaking, and acting since I was a teenager, despite the years I have had separation from my family and been on my own. I guess this is just to be expected that we all resort to familiar ways of being with each other. After all, family and familiar are made of the same root word origins.  My parents also resort to speaking to me and treating me like I’m still a teenager. But it is up to me to pause and take a step out of those unskilful patterns and find new ways of relating to my family.

How do I practice loving speech? I try to keep mindful of my intention as much and as often as I can. I intend to treat my family members with love, care, and respect (and that can include standing up for myself to assert my own needs). I am determined to do no more harm to my family in the way I speak and act toward them.

The times when I have to try my hardest to practice loving speech is when I am asking someone to do something for me, or when I want to criticize or suggest a different way of doing something around the house. I have noticed that I can ask someone to do something in a kind and loving way that doesn’t put an expectation that they should do it, or they are supposed to. Instead, what I can do is preface my request with a statement about myself (“It’s hard for me to prepare a meal when there are dishes in the way.”). Then I visualize myself calmly smiling, and that the words coming out of my mouth are kind and loving.

I ask as kindly as I can if they would like to helpme out by doing something for me (“Can you move your dishes for me?”). But even in the asking, I try to make it a soft request, not  a harsh demand that has to be fulfilled. I try not to have attachment to the outcome of another person’s behaviour. In other words, if they desire to help me out, it is great, but if not, that’s perfectly fine, too, and I can figure out a way to handle it myself.

Of course, this is the ideal of how I would like things to happen. But as always happens, people get tired, irritated and impatient, and these ideals are not always fulfilled.

Nevertheless, the times when I am able to try my best to act this way, I find that things go much more smoothly with my family. Its satisfying to see the practice put to work and to see such rapid results.

I hope I can take these lessons and apply them elsewhere…with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, coworkers, and relatives.

I will end with a reflection that I think I feel such a strong desire to act and speak lovingly to my family because strong memories have become so salient of how much I used to be verbally abusive to my family members as a teenager. As a typical teenager, I was egotistical, selfish, and completely self-absorbed. So I resorted to yelling and screaming at them, and acting violent around the home, in order to get what I wanted. I want to reverse these harmful effects in whatever way I can in the present.



1. Brian - August 8, 2012

Nicely said. I can appreciate what your talking about as I’m home from school now too… haha

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