Khalil Gibran once said that people would never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?
Before I share my seven words with you, I want to tell you a bit about Khalil Gibran. He was born in Lebanon in 1883 and died in New York City at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver due to severe alcoholism. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi. His best-known work is The Prophet, a book composed of twenty-six essays. Since first being published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. If you haven’t read the book, do. If you have read it, reread it.
A Foundation to Build On
As I was pondering this question, I remembered Tony Robbins Six Human Needs. Tony identified six basic human needs with the belief that everyone is, or can be motivated by fulfilling these needs.
Here they are:
Need 1: Certainty/Comfort
Need 2: Uncertainty/Variety
Need 3: Significance
Need 4: Love & Connection
Need 5: Growth
Need 6: Contribution
Every day we are reflexively determined to meet these needs. When these requirements are met at a high level, our degree satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives is abundant. If these needs are met at a low level, we will experience life as being unsatisfactory and disappointing. I think that we can agree that Tony’s philosophy of what lies at the root of human aspiration and the extent to which these needs are met make a difference in our life.
My Seven Words
So what does any of this have to do with my seven words? It is a place to start and a foundation for me to build on. It has been my experience that for most people what matters most to them is being loved, loving others, acceptance, and respect. And, so here are my words:
- Trust: I have your back, and I know you have mine.
- Respect: If I don’t agree with you, or even if I don’t like you, I can respect you as a fellow human being.
- Acceptance: Regardless of your color, creed, sex, size, or physical attributes I can accept you as part of the human race.
- Integrity: Integrity is my highest value. It leaves no room for doubt, and it gives us the opportunity to be whole and undivided with ourselves and others.
- Freedom: Embrace the freedom to be yourself and allow others to do the same. This liberty takes the shackles off of all the other domains of your life.
- Choice: Our entire life is the summation of the choices we have made. Take responsibility for the decisions you make in your life and choose wisely.
- Presence: Now is all we have. Aim for unflinching presence in your relationships, and you will likely find that most everything else will take care of itself.
There you have it. These are my seven words. Are they sufficient enough to create robust and wholesome relationships based on mutual understanding? I think so. What are your seven words?
Stay true and be you —