Have you ever thought about what you are saying? Word are meant to communicate things, but are you saying what you mean?

Words help us exchange information, create connection, or change status or mood (either up or down).

Exchanging information is useful. If you want directions, feedback, instructions on how to do something, you have to ask questions of people who have answers. Exchanging information helps people be more efficient, grow, and become more capable. This is a head centered way of speaking.

Using words to create connection is a heart centered way of speaking. These words are usually sweet and caring and open the door to engaging in the relationship. Without this type of communication, we don’t have meaningful relationships, a sense of community, or intimacy. It’s not just the words that make this possible, but the demeanor in which they are delivered. The body language and energy is nonjudgemental, open, and calm. The result is that we feel really good giving and receiving this type of speech.

If you pay attention to what you and others are saying, you will see that most of what we say isn’t meant to convey either one of these things. It’s about changing status or mood. Arguing is a way of saying, “You must hear me! I am important. I will have my say” or sometimes, “I am right. You are wrong.” This puts the speaker up and the listener down.

When we stomp into a room after a hard day, it can be a way to say, “I”m having a bad day. Leave me alone!” or “It’s been rough. Pay attention to me.” Sometimes it’s even, “I’m miserable so you should be too!”

If we’re at a party talking about our experiences, our stories can be a way of one upping each other to make ourselves more important. It may seem like a way to get to know each other through shared experiences, but maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s about being self-important. Listen.

Even our self talk can be a way to put ourselves down. Or sometimes we gossip about others (aloud or within) to feel better about ourselves or our own situation.

Pay attention to what you are saying. Even your silence speaks volumes!

Most of what we say either doesn’t need to be said or can be said in a way that’s more effective. If this resonates with you, slow down. Think before you speak. Reducing inner and outer chatter creates clarity so that you can see more deeply into your existence. With a little practice, you can say what you mean and mean what you say.