: Daring with the Truth
One of the most un-talked about in-completions in our lives is our holding back the truth in situations, most often for fear of being judged, fired, or losing the relationship. And the havoc that kind of incompletion can play can not only affect our emotional health but our physical health as well.
A friend was told by her doctor that the best cure for her medical condition would be her willingness to tell the truth. Now that is not something one would expect to hear from a doctor. And yet, she knew he was right on target. And it's not truth in terms of big secrets, it's just little day-to-day things where what wants to be said is set aside (not completed) out of fear.
In my work with clients I ask if there is anything incomplete or unsaid with a colleague or family member that needs to spoken. Once in a while someone writes something down. I suspect the subtly of how often we don't tell the truth is not even obvious to us unless we are looking. Yet we unconsciously place stress in our body as we walk right by the opportunity to speak up and say what is true in that moment. Here are some examples I hear about and know first-hand.
1. We are late for a meeting, someone walks in and instead of clearly saying not now, we spend a few minutes to talk with them, all the while anxious that we are late and then race to our meeting judging ourselves as we hurry.
2. We are in a meeting and half the room is emailing or texting and the meeting drags on as there is not 100% participation (which will get people to the point faster). We will talk about it later but, in the moment, do we have the courage to simply ask everyone to put their texting/emailing aside or (even bolder) to ask if the meeting is really not of value and should it be stopped?
3. A colleague sends us an email that is, in our opinion, incomplete or unclear. Under our breath we call them a name and judge their ineffectiveness vs. replying and suggesting a better approach next time because we decide it will not do any good or it's too much effort. Yet we carry the opinion/judgment around with us.
What if we really dared to say what is true? My most favorite story of this happened to me years ago when my friend's 26 year old son was maybe 8 years old and I was meeting him for the first time at the dinner table. He started asking me questions about me and my life. He asked me if I was married and I said no. And he said - that's sad. His parents about died. My reaction was that I agreed with him and appreciated that he simply said the truth for him in that moment. It was not mean-spirited; it was just what was present. Since that day our friendship is filled with loving truth.
Sometimes my clients' progress touches me to tears and I can feel myself wanting to "be professional" but I risk the truth in that moment and share the tears and it is always appropriate.
Our truth is the best communicator and ultimately gains respect. I invite us all to dare to complete our truth in the moment.
1. Watch and see what you do not say.
2. The next time your truth is on the tip of your tongue let it spill right on out.
3. Practice being honest with yourself and what is true for you in the moment.