When it comes to reforming communication, remember the four Rs

Yesterday we talked about how acknowledging our need to learn new ways to communicate is one of the foundations of mindful communication.

Today, lets deepen this conversation just a little more.

How do we know that we need to work on something, in the first place?

"Remember that Reform starts with the four Rs"

1) Reminder – everything in our environment can act as a reminder if we let it. We hear an inspirational story, a lecture, an article or even a social media post. This reminder confirms what is true within our nature. It makes sense because the knowledge of what works and what doesn't is already hardwired into us. This one reason why inspirational quotes are so inspirational – they eloquently express what we feel and know to be true within.

For example, here is a quote about the power of words:
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.
Yehuda Berg

This rings true because all of us have experienced the power of words that heal and the force of words that hurt. It confirms our lived experience and therefore acts as a reminder about the power of words.

2) Recognition – very often when we hear such reminders, a light-bulb goes off – We begin to remember a time when someone really hurt us with their words and think that they can really use this reminder. And so we may even forward it to them or post it on a public platform (hoping they get the message and change their behavior!)

But here's the thing: we get no points (as in zero) for figuring out who really needs this. We may share this quote a million times on social media but it will make absolutely no difference if everyone passes it along to someone else that "really needs it"!

Such reminders are only valuable to us if we can recognize them as something that we need to work on for ourselves.

3) Reflection – once we recognize the reminder as valuable for ourselves, we are halfway there.

Next, we need to ask ourselves:
Am I ready to start taking action to change?
Am I willing to pay the cost?
What is my plan of action?

Here is where I can stack the odds in my favor by having a concrete plan of action. Going back to the example above, if I have trouble using kind words, what is my plan to change this? How will I keep myself accountable? What will be my measure of success?

Of course, we have spoken at length about setting goals and converting them into action in previous posts. Here are the archives.

4) Reform – reform through regular practice. This is where we put into practice what we learn and what we had planned. It is active engagement with learning. Without the element of taking action it remains theoretical knowledge as opposed to transformative knowledge.

(this is easier said than done, of course. I still think it is a bit unfair that reading health blogs and diet books and buying fitness equipment does not make one healthier. If it did, I would be soooo fit. Sigh)

To see the results in our lives of what we know in our heads, we must take action. When we know better, we must do better. We must ask ourselves how the information in our heads shows up in actions and behavior in our lives.

When we learn the power of words that heal, we can start using words of support and kindness and when we learn about the force of destructive words, we can make an effort to remove these from our vocabulary.

Simple, really.

One baby step at a time.

The first three Lectures on Mindful Communication as a Spiritual Practice are uploaded onto the podcast. More to come soon inshallah.

Lecture 1: Introduction to communication as a gift of the Creator

Lecture 2: Definitions and the five foundations of mindful communication

Lecture 3: Managing emotional reactivity which blocks communication

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1) Loving and living the Quran: Over 100 episodes of past lectures and Quran tafsir

2) Family Connections Podcast:



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