- don Miguel Ruiz, Four Agreements

communicationThis month, I want to write about the importance of communicating clearly. I do this as much for myself as anyone else reading, because it is not always easy to say what we mean, mean what we say, set boundaries and - even more importantly - keep them.

What does communication have to do with freedom, you might ask? Well, I would answer, everything! When we are free to be honest with one another, in a kind and constructive way, relationships flourish and grow. I've been using this phrase with my friends and clients lately, “You either grow together, or you grow apart,” and I believe this wholeheartedly.

Communicating Liberty

So what does this growth mean to a libertarian? Well, we want a world where individuals are sovereign over their own lives – where no one surrenders their own value to benefit another. We believe that respect for individual rights is essential for a prosperous, free world. Libertarians also welcome the diversity that freedom brings, with no government interference or authoritarian power.

How our ideas are communicated is crucial, both within the liberty community and without. Within the community, living what we believe requires action and dedication to effective communication. Outside of the community, the principles of liberty are new to many, and how we communicate them will have a great impact on how they are received.

Principles of Communication for Libertarians

Some of the best principles of communications are written by don Miguel Ruiz in the Four Agreements. Ruiz puts these principles together in such a simple, impressive way that they are a gift worth memorizing and implementing in daily life:

  1. Never assume (we all know about this one).
  2. Don't take anything personally (it says a lot more about the person pointing the finger).
  3. Be impeccable with your word (clear and concise – we need to know what we want/need and convey that message; no one is a mind-reader.
  4. Always do your best (you'll know if you fall short!)

People ChattingThe agreements work well for libertarians and are in keeping with our ideals. Taking 100% responsibility for our own choices, actions, and decisions makes life easier and freer.

When we come together as a community, we often help one another, offer advice, hire out, and hang out. Keeping the Four Agreements in mind, many new relationships will be formed and kept real. Being clear about intentions is crucial to maintaining good standing and building trust.

Righting Wrongs with Restorative Justice

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to communicate in a way that resolved a problem by being humble, honest, and forthcoming? When someone has harmed another, I believe we would be hard-pressed to find a better deterrent to future wrong-doing than restoring justice to our community.

Restorative Justice is the response to a crime with mediation between offender and victim, in an attempt to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all participants. Victims have the opportunity to take an active role in the process, which can lead to better results. Restorative justice aims to urge offenders to:

  1. take that 100% responsibility for their actions
  2. truly understand the harm they caused, and
  3. offer the opportunity to make good - while discouraging future mishaps.

It would be powerful to see the Four Agreements and restorative justice become guiding principles for healthy communication in the New Hampshire liberty community. Freedom flourishes as we practice honesty and respect in word and deed.

Helpful Communication Resources

I live here in Manchester, New Hampshire, one of the most beautiful states by far, hands down (and I have been around!). Environment plays a large role in our attitudes and decisions, and I will talk more about that next time. For now, check out my website for more tips, and don’t just take my word for it. Here are a few helpful articles on communication.