Expressing Ourselves with Intention

An African American man in his mid-thirties smiles at the camera while holding both hands over his heart. - 7/01/2019

Our lives are built from our words, thoughts, beliefs and ideas. Learning to express ourselves with intention helps us better understand one another and live more fulfilling journeys. We are a work in progress, and every day we share, learn, and grow as individuals, families and communities. To prepare our minds so that we are open to new ideas, processes and people, try the following: 

  1. Ask yourself, “Am I really open to what others say?” 
  2. Make a point of reacting to others with kindness for an entire day (then repeat that!).
  3. Practice integrity to lay the foundation for better negotiations. 
  4. Try being silent more than you speak. Silence raises our level of awareness of what we say as well as what others say to us. 

When we observe situations our expressions become more compassionate, thoughtful and honest. We create relationships with the people we speak to, and we think about what they are saying rather than how we want to respond. We are able to understand their feelings and ideas.

When speaking to a person who is argumentative, try placing your hand over your heart while you listen. Don’t make it an obvious action, but rather a gentle, caring expression – a reminder to have a heart even for naysayers. As you do this, tell yourself to be nonjudgmental before engaging in the conversation. This type of pause and attention to compassion will show the person you are willing to consider his or her viewpoint and that you want to work together.

Fun, popular reminders about expressing ourselves with intention are:

“If you cannot say anything nice, better to say nothing at all.” 

“If you wouldn’t say it directly to a person, don’t say it at all.” 

“Say what you can live with.”

These behaviors make us better people to be around and enhance our careers and well-being.