Communication roadblocks can appear in many, many forms, and they seem to reappear in different forms throughout our lives. They can involve fear, lies, gossip, discouragement, exaggeration, nastiness, fighting, and even the total opposite-- the silent treatment. All of these communication issues become roadblocks to us moving forward in our most important relationships. Some are more obvious than others, but all of them need to be dealt with. We can build others up with our words or tear them down. Communication roadblocks need to be resolved quickly.
Once I saw on Pinterest a sign that said, “Before You Speak, THINK.”
Each letter of “think” stands for something. THINK stands for:
Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?
Basically, if what we want to say doesn’t meet that criteria, it probably doesn’t need to be said. If we hold our speech to those standards, we would get into far less trouble and experience fewer roadblocks. We would build each other up rather than tear each other down.
Think about it... If something you’re about to say is not true, or you aren’t sure whether it’s true or not, don’t say it. This one is first because this one can sure cause the most harm. There is nothing worse than spreading false information.
If what you’re about to say isn’t helpful, don’t say it. Words that aren’t helpful can be harmful. It could be gossip. It could be a complaint. Complaining is never helpful; offering a solution to a problem while offering to help, however, is helpful.
If what you’re about to say isn’t inspiring, don’t say it. This one goes to whether what you’re about to say will build someone up or tear them down. It’s a big deal because once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back. Most negative things we say don’t need to be said. And even when we have an issue we need to confront someone with, we can say it with love and build them up rather than be nasty.
If what you’re about to say isn’t necessary, don’t say it. Do you really NEED to say it? Are you really the one who needs to say it? Does the other person really need to hear it? If it isn’t necessary, don’t say it. Just because I don’t like your jeans, doesn’t mean it’s necessary for me to tell you. It’s not my job to point out everyone’s misdeed. So if it isn’t necessary, don’t say it.
Lastly, if what you’re about to say isn’t kind, don’t say it. Nasty critiques are not kind. Our speech, even when we’re presenting an issue to someone, can be kind, especially if we pray through it or think it through BEFORE we say it. There are so many things in the heat of the moment that I want to say, but when I pause to consider them I realize they aren’t kind. Making myself feel better by saying them anyway will only make me feel good in the moment. I’ll regret it later, and I might ruin a relationship at the same time.
If you have a communication roadblock, the easiest way to fix it is to utilize emotional control. When our emotions go crazy, we say things we should not. The best thing is to pause before we speak, especially when we’re angry, embarrassed, or caught off-guard. A good statement is, “I’m going to have to consider that and talk to you about it later.” Admit you are upset and need a little time to cool off first. What we say in the heat of the moment usually doesn’t turn out well. We end up looking nasty and immature. Other people become afraid of our reactions. That is especially true in marriage, and with our kids. We could all learn to tame our tongues a little more and use our words for good rather than evil. Print this out and stick it somewhere that it will be helpful for you, like on your bathroom mirror, fridge, or on your desk at the office: