Speak Life

Often I see people speaking out today, but the voices are not always life giving. The three gates theory is one that is so wise, so beautiful, and so applicable. But not all remember it, including myself from time to time. And I think there is a fourth gate that we can add to the equation. Let's explore.

Before Speaking, Ask Yourself....

Is it kind? In this world of chaos and divisiveness, a lot of things are said in the heat of the moment. As a coach, I know that when emotions are high, logic is low. And that can cause some unkind things to be said. So before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind? An example of something I said just the other day in my own life that came from a loving place but came out ALL WRONG was when my husband was putting on sunblock (he has this technique that looks totally ineffective, for the record, from my perspective).

Husband: Spraying block at an angle to hit his back some ways away from me.

Me: You're completely missing.

Husband: You always say that, I can feel it going onto my skin, it's just your angle.

Me: You don't have to be so harsh about it. I meant to say, I could help you.

Ask Yourself:

Is it True? In this age of disinformation, you can ask yourself if what you are about to say is true. One of the rules of coaching and being in the online space is to fact check. And then fact check again. Don't just parrot everything you see on socials, or what you hear on the news because media spins EVERYTHING. Even in my own life example, the truth of the matter is, sunblock sprays everywhere. I was seeing it from several feet away, and even if I was spraying it directly onto my husband's skin, there would have been an overspray. So was I right in saying, "you're completely missing?" No, sheepishly, I was incorrect.

Ask Yourself: Is it Necessary

Did I really have to say that to my husband? No. In fact, we had a discussion about it later, when I brought it up and asked him why he responded so harshly. "I was only trying to be helpful", I said. "Through criticism", he replied, and then told me how I have done that to him before, and that he felt capable, and I made him feel incapable.

Yikes. Totally not my intent! I apologized and we talked about all the ways I could have approached the situation. I could have asked if he needed help. I could have realized that the angle was probably fine, and that I was seeing overspray mist. I could have been gentler. I remembered all the times I felt criticized and judged, and made to feel as if I couldn't do something properly. Nope, not necessary for me to have said he was totally missing! I doubly apologized.

Now if everyone on the planet could just think about these gates and consider whether a comment, a criticism, or even just an observation is necessary then we would be in such better shape!

It reminds me of the comedian Bill Engvall and his "here's your sign" comedy. A cop comes up to him with a flat tire and says, "got a flat?"

"No, the other three just swelled right up! Here's your sign," the comic thrives on observatory comedy and people pointing out the obvious. He makes me laugh so much!

But people these days feel they need to just say something, anything, to fill the silences, to comment on socials, to be the one to point out the mistake, the blunder, the thing that could be better. Oof, this world needs kindness folks! Which brings me to the final point, the gate that hasn't been utilized but should be...

The Fourth Gate: Does it Help Facilitate Life?

Something I realized one day during a meditation was that the point of life is to sustain life. We are here to be gatekeepers, facilitators, and peacekeepers, the ones who prune the gardens of life in all forms. When I tend to my plants indoors and outdoors, I feel their appreciation for the water, the pruning, the care.

When I take care of my pets I sense their gratitude and of course there are the snuggles in return. When I gi