Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind?’ Rumi
Yesterday I discovered this quote posted on a wonderful blog called Source of Inspiration.
It inspired my next challenge: Take notice of the words you choose before you speak.
I had the opportunity to practice letting my words pass through the three gates yesterday during a challenging situation, and it helped me immensely to refrain from saying something I would later regret. In fact, my spirits were lifted and I went on to enjoy a beautiful fall day instead of going away from the interaction with feelings of animosity. After my encounter, I took a long run in the park, enjoying the bright fall foliage, the sunlight sparkling on the lake water, and the smiles on the people’s faces as they passed me on the trail.
During my hour-long run, I had time to think about the quote some more and noticed that there was another important step that has been helpful to me when deciding how to handle a situation. Because of the difficult circumstances in which I grew up dealing with my mom’s mental illness, I learned to suppress most of my feelings and often felt at odds with my own thoughts. This led to a lot of anxiety and depression. It has become important for me to have a few special people in which I can confide and vent freely, in order to sort through what I am feeling or wish to communicate. Writing in a journal is also an excellent tool, as is talking to a good therapist. This process of allowing my emotions to surface without censorship helps me to identify what I am trying to express, and it is helpful at times to run it by a neutral party first, before taking it to the next level.
One final thought that has also been helpful is to remind myself that I am doing the best I can, and in turn so is everyone else.