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What We Say Matters

Practicing Nonviolent Communication

By Judith Hanson Lasater, Ike K. Lasater
12-minute read
Audio available
What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication by Judith Hanson Lasater, Ike K. Lasater

What We Say Matters (2009) is a guide to communicating with compassion, openness and honesty. These blinks explain how to connect with your needs, as well as those of others, while speaking in a way that communicates your feelings clearly without causing suffering.

  • Anyone who wants to improve their communication skills
  • People involved in spiritual practice
  • Readers who are interested in the intricacies of human nature

Judith Hanson Lasater has been a yoga teacher since 1971 and is also the president of the California Yoga Teachers Association. She has a doctorate in East-West psychology.

Ike K. Lasater is one of the cofounders of Mediate Your Life, a company that teaches people how to handle conflict. He was previously a trial attorney and has served on the mediation panel for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

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What We Say Matters

Practicing Nonviolent Communication

By Judith Hanson Lasater, Ike K. Lasater
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication by Judith Hanson Lasater, Ike K. Lasater
Synopsis

What We Say Matters (2009) is a guide to communicating with compassion, openness and honesty. These blinks explain how to connect with your needs, as well as those of others, while speaking in a way that communicates your feelings clearly without causing suffering.

Key idea 1 of 7

Speaking truthfully and without harming others increases the well-being of everyone involved.

Humans love to talk, and speaking is one of the fundamental aspects of our everyday lives. But while we do it just about all the time, this simple action still has profound effects on our well-being and the world around us.

The way we speak reflects how we view ourselves, as well as our opinions of others. For instance, if you say to yourself that you’re a good person, you’ll begin to act the way a “good” person acts and others will treat you as such. In turn, this will reinforce your sense of self-worth.

The way we speak also affects the way our discussions unfold. Just imagine coming home from work and finding that your housemate left the kitchen full of dirty dishes. In such a situation, you might feel frustrated and want to communicate it to your roommate.

But instead of calmly stating your feelings, you yell, “You’re so messy, you don’t give a damn about the house!” This reaction will likely just upset your housemate as well; instead of communicating clearly about the issue, you both end up angry and argumentative.

So, how can you approach such situations to maximize your well-being as well as that of the other person?

By using right speech, that is, language that’s truthful but not harmful. This type of speech is recommended in Buddhist texts, namely the Yoga Sutra. It’s described as respecting the practice of “satya” or “truth” and the practice of “ahimsa” or “non-harming.”

Right speech is a way of speaking that strives to attend to all people’s needs. To do so, it suggests that our words reflect the true state of ourselves and the world, while avoiding doing harm to others.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. To get started using right speech, you’ll need another tool: nonviolent communication or NVC. You’ll learn all about it, including a better way to communicate your frustration to your housemate, in the following blinks.

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