In the same context, the conflicts and divorce that so many marriages have experienced might also have been avoided if only the couples had used a more civil tone of voice when talking with one another.
Nasrudin summed it up well in this story……….
Nasrudin was having coffee with his friend one morning.
His friend was confiding with Nasrudin about his struggling marriage and how important their marriage was to both him and his wife.
He asked Nasrudin, “You know us well. You know the direction both of us want our marriage to go, as we grow older together. What direction do you think we should take to get there?”
Nasrudin thought for a few moments, stroked his beard and pondered the question.
“Well” he said, “if you want to go where you say you want to go, I would not start from where you are”.
When I read this story in The Wise Fool’s Guide to Leadership it reminded me of all the times that couples had come into my counseling office over the years asking me essentially the same question.
I would give them the same answer that Nasrudin gave to his friend.
I would tell them that unless they could learn to become more civil with each other, I held out little hope that they would ever have the happy, successful relationship they both wanted.
They were often unaware of the impatience and critical tone of voice unconsciously embedded in their communication with one another. The kindness and gentle tone of voice initially present in their relationship had quietly given way to a habit of impatience and criticism.
Like so many marriages in the world today, they had no conscious awareness that their “normal” everyday language and behaviors with each other had become so abusive. So hurtful to the soul and spirit of their relationship.
I would remind them that every relationship has a choice.
The tone and content of the communication we use with others can be civil and kind, or it can be abusive and caustic. And each choice will quickly become an unconscious habit—especially in an intimate relationship.
Civility and compassion are our basic natures, but we need to awaken our consciousness and learn to pay attention to the negative energy we are using in our relationships with those we love.
Until we do, most of us will remain unaware how much harm our unconscious primitive ego psyche is capable of bringing into our lives.
The primitive ego of our unconscious inner-child is far to self-focused and emotionally reactive to successfully maintain a civil tone of voice in our relationships with others.
Our primitive ego is emotionally reactive to everything that happens to us because it automatically assumes that everything that happens to us should be taken personally.
In other words, it will not only introduce a serious lack of civility in our words and interactions with others, it will become a very difficult relationship habit to break. And the wounds created by a lack of civility can be difficult to heal.
Using a Henry Ward Beecher metaphor I read recently, when we interact with the world using our primitive ego, it’s like driving a wagon without springs. We are jolted by every pebble in the road. The journey can quickly become painful.
Only our awakened observing ego consciousness is capable of offering a sustained civility and compassion to others. It knows that people are just being who they are; that their words and behaviors should never be taken personally.
It is the part of us that creates the flexible springs under the wagon. The part that makes the bumps in the road disappear.
The part that make the journey gentle and loving.
If your goal is to create healthy and happy relationships with those around you, the bedrock of your verbal and non-verbal attitude, behaviors, and communication with them must become civil and kind.
Civility, kindness, and compassion are like a healing balm that nurtures and strengthens the resiliency and flexibility of the bonds that hold a happy relationship together.
A lack of civility is like a caustic acid that corrodes and eats away at the emotional bonds of a relationship until those bonds weaken and eventually break.
Without the strong emotional bonds created by habits of civility and kindness, there are few relationships that will successfully withstand the pain and challenges that life inevitably brings us.
A healthy, awakened relationship, will always protect itself with high levels of civility and kindness.