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The foolproof way to have a fight (DW#296)

Whether a relationship is strong, fulfilling and healthy (or not) depends to a significant amount, on the quality of the daily interactions between the people who form the relationship.

What happens during these interactions and communication exchanges on a day to day basis determines the emotional climate of the relationship over time which in turn determines whether or not the people in the relationship feel connected and happy.

Having positive interactions and good communication does not mean that the relationship is free of conflict. Relationship experts agree that to have a relationship free of (apparent) conflict is neither desirable nor healthy. In fact, many would argue that the presence of conflict is an opportunity to grow as an individual and for the relationship to become more intimate as well.

The conflict, does of course, need to be handled skillfully in order for this to happen.

Let’s take a common example from family life to understand this better. The...

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The truth about lying (DW#295)

As we wrap up our discussion on telling the truth about lying, let’s look at some interesting facts and studies from experts about truth and lying

· Research by Kim Serota, a marketing professor at Oakland University suggests that at least in North America, the average person tells one to two lies a day. (People tell more lies in January than any other month. The average person tells 217 lies in January (about seven per day). His research also suggests that "prolific liars" tell a lot more lies than that – according to his study, 5% of people tell approximately half of all lies!

· Most lies are told to get ahead in the workplace, to avoid being criticised or rejected or to hide something from family members. The most benign reason that people lie is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

· Our culture condones dishonesty and because of this, our own truthfulness declines . "There’s something antisocial about being too honest," says David...

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5 problems with telling “little white lies" (DW#294)

We’ve been talking about speaking the truth and the kinds of lies that are far from the truth and the whole truth.

But what about "white lies", the harmless or trivial lies that we sometimes tell, especially to avoid hurting someone's feelings?

Well, according to Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of the book, Lying, honesty is always the best policy.

"The people who undo their lives, and destroy relationships and careers, always accomplish this through lying," he says. "The decision to not lie is the best prophylactic i’ve ever come across for not bringing needless misery into your life."

Harris firmly believes we should stay away from all lies, including the "white" ones. "They tend to be the only lies that good people tell, while imagining that they are being good in the process," he says.

Here are some reasons that those white lies can damage relationships:

1. We undermine people’s trust.

When people overhear us lying to someone else, it tells them that...

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A third kind of lie {DW#293)

When people are asked to speak the truth under oath, it goes like this:

Do you swear to tell the truth (that is no lies of commission, saying exactly what happened)?

The whole truth (that is no lies of omission, leaving no major fact unspoken)?

And then there is a third statement "And nothing but the truth?", which may be less easy to understand.

Psychologists explain that this sentence is used to counteract what is called a character lie or a lie of influence.

In other words, sometimes people say something completely unrelated to the truth to cover up a lie. These lies are meant to make you believe the person who is lying or to make the person seem like such a great person that they are unlikely to be suspected of lying.

For example, suppose a person at your workplace is suspected of taking money from the cash registers. And it is your (most unpleasant) job to find out who it is. You interview one of the clerks and ask him if he took the money. He does not answer your question and...

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Two kinds of lies (DW#292)

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2017

A lie is any statement, spoken or written, that is intended to deceive or withhold information from another.

Lies of commission: A lie of commission happens when we say something that is not a fact or simply not true. It is when we are twisting the truth to create a (usually more favorable) version of something that happened.

Suppose it was raining outside and you asked me about the weather in Toronto as you were packing to arrive here. "It is bright and sunny right now", I say. You would now be making a decision to dress for sunny weather based on the wrong information you were given.

The fact that it was raining is an objective fact which can be seen and experienced by anyone who is present. It is also easy to verify it after the fact by simply checking the weather channel.

Lies of omission: Lies of omission occur when we intentionally leave out an important fact to foster a misrepresentation. These are also known as continuing misrepresentations.

Lies of omission also happen when...

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Two kinds of truth (DW#291)

Last week we started the conversation about the foundational principle of mindful speech: speaking the truth.

There are two kinds of truth to aim for:

The objective truth: that is what happened or did not happen. This kind of truth is that which is objectively verifiable, quantifiable and measurable, and not influenced by emotions, opinions or personal feelings.

These are the kinds of things that plaintiffs and witnesses (and family members!) are cross-examined on:

Where were you?
Who were you with?
Who else was there?
How did the car get dented?
Who ate the last cookie? ;)

The other kind of truth is subjective truth: speaking about that which is based on our own internal experience, emotions or opinions.

Speaking the truth about what is true for us (with grace and compassion) is the doorway to intimacy as it invites another person to share our experience and internal world. It is about speaking what is in our hearts.

Some examples of invitations to share our objective truth are:

How do...

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Speak the truth (DW#290)

The first foundation for mindful speech is to tell the truth. Speaking the truth is crucial for our relationship with ourselves, with God and with other people.

Our relationship with ourselves: Telling the truth allows us to live in alignment with our conscience which is ultimately what self esteem is based on. To put it another way, self esteem and self respect grows from living according to our values.

Our relationship with God: Not telling the truth impacts our relationship with God because our guilty conscience erects a barrier between the All Truthful and ourselves. Since He knows the truth and the lies that we speak, we feel ashamed to present ourselves in His presence.

Our relationship with others: Telling the truth is the basis of trust and credibility of our relationship with others. When we can trust another to be truthful, we can lay our guard down, relax and become intimate with another. On the other hand, a lack of trust keeps us anxious, vigilant and on guard –...

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Wise speech (DW#289)

We’ve all done it. Regretted saying something the moment it came out. We may have said it too harshly, or in a state of anger or not having paused to consider whether it was a good time.

Although we may apologize profusely (that is if we have the slightest desire to maintain the relationship), we get the sinking feeling that the hurt caused is deep and that healing it will take time.

Can we prevent such slips of the tongue which cause such damage to our relationships?

Maybe not entirely but we can certainly make progress towards minding our words if we THINK before we speak.

Here are some time-honored questions to consider in the pause before we speak:
Is what I am about to say:

T – True?
H – Helpful to the other person? To our relationship? To getting my
       message across?
I – Inspiring rather than discouraging?
N – Necessary? Is it necessary at this time?
K – Kind? Am I saying it in a way that is kind and respectful rather...

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A good Word (DW#288)

As we continue our series on mindful communication, let’s now talk about speaking.

The words that we speak are very powerful. They have the power to heal and they have the power to hurt.

The impact of words goes far beyond our immediate perception.

In verses 24 and 25 of Chapter 14 (The Chapter of Abraham), the Quran teaches us that a good word is like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven. This tree, the Quran goes on, yields fruit in every season and that these are lessons for people who are mindful.

Scholars of scripture explain that among other meanings, this verse may also refer to the power of words spoken by us which are beneficial and helpful to others. The benefit of such words extends far beyond the immediate conversation and continues to benefit others and ourselves as they are reflected upon, shared and acted upon.

A pretty strong motivation to speak that which is useful, wouldn’t you say?

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Listening well is not about techniques (DW#287)

As we wrap up our discussion on mindful listening, let’s remind ourselves of the key messages on listening well.

Really listening to another requires our attention and putting aside our own agenda for the moment.

It is not about agreeing, disagreeing or giving advice. These may or may not be needed but the first step in any case is to understand the speaker.

Only after we have conveyed our understanding to the speaker, and they know that we "get" what they are trying to say will they be ready to listen to our point of view or advice.

True listening then, is not about techniques or demonstrating that we know the skills of "active listening". It is about the intention to pay attention to, and understand, the other person’s model of the world.

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