Featured Story

Speak your mind with grace
by Kes Cross
When something or someone riles us, displeases or vexes us, we have a choice of how to react. Some of us are inclined to speak out angrily and vehemently against the perceived insult or controversy. Others may stay silent, through either diplomacy or meekness.

But both of these courses lead to negative outcomes. By getting angry and letting the world know what we jolly well think about the situation, we not only further disrupt our own peace of mind, but may also perpetuate a cycle of animosity and conflict. Anger begets anger, and such anger is detrimental to all involved.

To stay silent meanwhile is to deny the validity and worth of your own opinion. It also does little to remove the emotion from your own mind, which can then fester into something even more negative. Not only that, it can result in you being perceived as weak-willed, or a pushover, and this in turn may result in the situation repeating itself. Few can stay silent forever, and the results of keeping your thoughts to yourself can eventually lead to an explosive and potentially destructive outburst of repressed emotion.

There is however a third, much more positive way of dealing with such situations: to speak your mind with grace.

What does it mean to speak your mind with grace?

We all have within us the ability to speak and act with grace, even if we might deny it. To speak with grace means to do so without anger, without hatred, animosity or other negative emotions which can make situations worse.
By speaking with grace you can express what is on your mind, but do so in a way that is respectful to the views and feelings of others. This avoids the problems of furthering conflict and division, whilst also ensuring that you do not repress or conceal your true emotions.

In speaking with grace, we recognise that other people may have different, even opposite views to our own, and that these are just as important and deeply held to them as ours are to us. This enables us to communicate and work through differences more effectively and constructively, with mutual respect and understanding.

How to speak with grace

Speaking with grace does not just come from the lips, it comes from deep within. In order to speak with grace, you must first cultivate a mental attitude of calm and balance. The unbalanced mind reacts emotionally and at times uncontrollably to situations over which it feels strongly. A balanced mind meanwhile remains tranquil, even in the stormiest of weather.

To speak with grace you must also ensure that when you do speak, the words that come out are based in honesty and respect. Hidden agendas and falsehoods can only harm interpersonal relationships, and lead to more conflict. When you speak with grace, you do so from the perspective of fairness, truth and genuine concern.

Though you may make every effort to speak with grace, it is likely that others will not. Even in these situations however, especially in these situations in fact, it is important to stay calm and speak your mind with integrity and fairness. In doing so, you recognise the universal fact that while you have no control over how others speak and act, you have total control over your own speech and actions. External situations and provocation should not spoil your state of mind and your intentions.

Finally, though we have no control over the way others may react to us, when we speak with grace we may in turn encourage others to the same.
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