a special feature from Leslie, co-founder Grandparentslink

Listening to how we present ourselves in conversation is a mindful act we all can practice.

As I was speaking to my husband the other day, I suddenly became aware of my tone. And, by the way, so did he. I realized that when I am challenged or when I don’t agree with him, I tend to raise my voice – a dead giveaway! Perhaps if I could speak in a quieter and more controlled manner, I wouldn’t let on that the situation or the discussion is not exactly going my way.

Often times when we speak to one another, we tend to forget that our attitude sets the stage for conversation. This thought gives new meaning to the old adage: “Don’t shoot your mouth off!”

All of this talk (!) also makes me think about how we speak to our grandchildren. The kids listen to our words, but more than that, they watch our faces, our expressions, and most importantly, they hear the pitch in our voices. It’s how we speak that makes an impact, not just the words.

When I see a conflict brewing with my grandchildren or anyone in my family, I need to ask myself, “How would I like to be spoken to?”, “How do I feel about what is going on?”,  “Why am I worried?” It’s so difficult to remove feelings. Have you ever noticed that when you speak from raw emotion, you say something that is disastrous, that you wish you had not said? Here is where being mindful really steps in. It is particularly valuable to listen to your inner voice, to be patient, and to reflect on the situation at hand.

For me, the key in listening is to consider the other person’s perspective or viewpoint, and see if I can change the tenor in my voice, and the manner in which I am speaking. Taking a more responsible and respectful approach is paramount, and something I continually strive to do. It’s hard to keep that balance and tricky to actually hear and know yourself.

How do you listen to yourself? We would love to hear what works for you…