Updated: Jul 28
How many times do we rehearse what we’re going to say? It could be an important meeting, a sensitive matter or a strong confrontation but we usually practice in our heads to get it straight. Sometimes ad infinitum if you’re like me.
Critical thinking is an important part for sure, but not as life-giving as another part. I’ve found preparing your heart is indispensable and is so much more life giving for all concerned. Words flow better. There’s less anxiety, less planning. But how often do actually do I do it?
My first go-to is The Golden Rule. I want people to think the best of me so I too must think the best of others. Sometimes easier said than done. Misunderstanding is uaually the culprit. But I have to be willing to give up my well-nursed grudge or point as the case may be because often both parties ‘are right’. It’s a real bummer if I’m invested in them being wrong.
Generally speaking, I believe in mankind. We have good hearts and want to do right. But it takes practice to condition the heart to lean that way and I find the happiest, most content people I know do that. It’s always easier and quicker to react with anger and frustration. But what I’ve discovered is we’ll react towards whichever way our hearts are leaning. If we have prepared it well, our knee jerk reaction will be to put our neighbour’s best interest first. When I groom my heart for love, I’m actually preparing my attitude and actions to follow suit without really realizing it. I don’t need to prepare my words so exact. Key points will come.
It’s like gesture drawing. Getting the basic shape down with lines and applicable joints - elbows, knees, hips, ankles. Then it’s just a matter of adding flesh on those lines. Of course there are other ways, but the easiest and quickest for best realism is to build up from an underlying form. You know where the knees go and how long the forearm is. Working from the inside out. Foundational work.
Same like preparing your heart and attitude. It’s the base foundation to work from and will direct your motivation and action. You don’t need carefully constructed words.
So how does one prepare a heart? My go-to is putting the other person first. I ask for things that I would like for myself for them. I don’t mean a big bank account or new car but things like respect, value, worth. Kindness, patience, understanding. Those are the things I’d like for myself, so therefore things I want for you. And it hasn’t proved me wrong yet.
That is how I prepare my heart. I've given up the reworked drafts getting it just so.
So next time I’m rehearsing my spiel I think I’ll put my mental energy in priming my compassion instead. The words will follow.