From a very early age, we are told to tell the truth. Yet, I find it’s very interesting to see how many mixed messages we give around this practice.
As a culture, we have paid quite a bit of lip service to being “politically correct” and to creating an environment for our people that reflects what we like to believe is fairness and equality.
I wonder, however, if our efforts have actually watered down our ability to support the development of strong, confident and truthful individuals?
When we put more emphasis on “saving someone’s feelings” than we do on acting on and speaking truth, are we helping or hindering? We protect feelings as if feeling something negative is a bad thing instead of potential for growth and deeper understanding.
In my work, I see this all the time. Someone is finally courageous enough to speak their truth and others are given the chance to know where they stand. They are shown the reality they need from which they can build and about which they can make their own free decisions.
These are the moments in life when we have the opportunity to shape ourselves – our resilience, our capacity to act, authentically, according to truth, our understanding of what speaking and hearing truth is really about.
When I work with clients, we focus on What, How and Where.
The what is the value. Our personal value, the value of our truth and of speaking it and the value we create by putting these things out into the world.
The how is our approach to doing this. Telling the truth is best done when we open our hearts, take radical responsibility for what we are sharing and have intentions towards an outcome that is focused on healing and the greater good.
Telling the truth doesn’t have to be an act of shamefulness, offensiveness, defensiveness or mean-spiritedness.
Can it hurt?
Can it cause discomfort and feelings of rejection, guilt and anger?
It can also set us and those whom we are sharing our truth with free.
Free to act according to what is real . . . what is true.
It’s important to consider that where we choose to place the value of the truth we are telling and the truth we are receiving is 100% up to us.
I often tell people there is a difference between “you hurt me” and “I am hurt.” When we take responsibility for our own thoughts and the feelings we are feeling, then we are taking responsibility for our lives and the choices we make around how we think and feel. Others aren’t here to protect our feelings. We are here to feel them and decide what we want to do with the information that emerges from the process of feeling them. We build our inner strength this way. We become more aware, wiser and self-actualized.
At the end of the day, there are some important truths around telling the truth of which we should be mindful:
1) Life isn’t fair and it’s not about equality, as much as it’s about the choice to be who you are.
2) Healing cannot truly happen without truth.
3) We must take full responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings. This includes allowing ourselves to think and feel them. There is no right or wrong to it. What we think and how we feel is what it is and it is about us. We are the ones who need to step up and share the impact of these thoughts and feeling with others.
4) Telling the truth is more about speaking ours than stating the “facts.” Using language that reflects this can go a long way in how our truth is received.
5) It’s much easier to create judgment and be judgmental when we don’t speak our truth. Discernment is about recognizing what is okay and congruent for me. Having the ability to kindly and clearly communicate this keeps us out of the trap of feeling the need to judge others. Again, each of us is responsible for speaking the truth about how something affects us.
When you look out into our current culture and you see the changes and challenges that we are facing, how much of it, do you believe, is due to the inability to see and speak truth?
How can you begin to change this in your own life?
Be loving, Speak truth!