What Would Thich Nhat Hanh Do? The Art of Communicating

This guy knows how to chill. (source)

In a week I’ll be married and I’ve asked every married person I know for advice, tips, and not-so-secret secrets. Guess what? It’s all about open communication, all the time.

I shouldn’t be surprised as communication is a big part of what I teach, but I’ve realized I’ve spent more time and energy on my work communications — with my team, bosses, and clients — and less on my communications my with partner. Much of the time we assume our partners are our partners becuase just “get us”. We don’t need to explain everything because they love us! [insert LOL emoji here].

My future husband and I both recently read the The Art of Communicating, by Thich Nhat Hanh who is very wise Zen monk. He points out how technology makes it so easy to stay in touch with people, “yet our communications may be lacking in genuine meaning.”

We are out of touch with ourselves (perhaps we’re too busy posting our best faux selves on Instagram through a filter), and if that’s true “how can we ever expect to communicate authentically with other people?” This really resonated with my heart.

Various communication tools surround us all day long but are we being authentic when we use them? Why are we saying what we say and do we mean it? How are we saying what we mean, and what if our perceptions of others’ words are dead wrong?

Thich Nhat Hanh provides methods to get more in touch with ourselves by taking a deep breath before speaking or writing, to use loving speech, and listen with compassion. These steps aren’t easy but they’re accessible and can be practiced daily assuming you don’t live in a cave alone. Basically every time you interact with another human being is an opportunity to be a better communicator.

In fact I used his method yesterday on the phone with my cable company. I wanted to scream and yell at the customer service guy who is reading from a script because my wifi had been down for a week, and two techs had already come over to “fix” it. But instead I took a deep breath and expressed my anger through honest and loving words.

I don’t love that Spectrum guy who lives halfway across the world but I loved myself a bit more. I felt better and calmer throughout the rest of that very long phone call. (If you’re curious, a third tech is coming over tomorrow. Fingers crossed.)

Imagine what authentic communication can do for your personal relationships! And your work relationships! And your relationship with yourself!

Now when things get heated at home my fiance and I break the tension by saying out loud: “What would Thich Nhat Hanh do?”. I recommend saying this in a ridiculous and silly voice, which leads to laughter and more openness.

Originally published at followthefear.co.

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