We all know someone who speaks whatever comes to mind. It might be someone at work, or the local grocery store, or at home.
There’s places where speaking your mind is good — such as departmental meetings at work or in a classroom setting — but when it comes to communication between friends and family members, speaking straight from the mind can cause damage and hurt feelings.
Speaking what comes to mind is usually unfiltered and raw and is offered with little consideration for the feelings of others. It’s often defended with phrases like, “That’s just the way I am,” or “Hey, it’s true, isn’t it?”
There is a better way to speak: from the heart.
Speaking from the heart involves a detour of sorts. What you’ve got to say will always start in the mind, but instead of taking the carpool lane from the brain to the mouth, it takes the next off ramp and, keeping in touch with the brain, takes the scenic route on the surface streets of the heart before arriving at its destination.
A Book of Mormon prophet set a good example of this type of communication when he spoke to his family shortly before he died. The record states: “… Lehi (spoke) unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart …” (2 Nephi 4:12, italics added). Lehi’s household included a pair of rebellious and disobedient sons to whom he could have easily given a piece of his mind. But rather, he spoke from his heart, which always has a better chance of making a positive impact.
Speaking from the heart involves taking a minute to think about what you’ve got to say, adding loving and considerate words and feelings and discarding the raw and potentially hurtful ones. Speaking from the heart is a more considerate, thoughtful and loving way to communicate.
Heartfelt communication doesn’t eliminate the mind’s contributions, it enhances them, marinates them, seasons them, and cooks them nearer to perfection.
Give it a try. You and your friends and family will be happier and more in tune with each other as a result.