Truth Telling or Reacting?

In the past, I have been known to say what I think immediately (if not sooner!). How do you think I got the nickname “The Truth Teller”? But like a fine wine, I have mellowed over time. It’s not aging that’s changed me, but rather my intense research on the topic of truth and “truthtelling”. I now have a richer and fuller definition of what it means to be honest and to speak truthfully. Come to find out, saying exactly what you feel the moment you feel it is merely a “reaction” based on our past history and the stories we tell ourselves. And, for those of you who are feeling superior right now because you don’t do that, you can come down off your high horse. Because even if you don’t “blurt”, you can loop with what you wish you said or what you “shoulda” said for hours on end just as easily.

As a society, we’ve been socialized to lie, rather than to thoughtfully speak our truth; therefore we don’t have any vocabulary, any teachers or even many role models to emulate. That’s why everyone believes that truth can “get you into trouble”, because so few are able to speak it or hear it since they were never taught HOW. Trying to tell the truth in our culture is tantamount to trying to speak Farsi or Mandarin.

It’s a really tricky situation–but just because we feel a certain way, doesn’t mean that what we are feeling is true. However, our feelings ARE warning signs. They are there to alert us to a situation where some soul searching is needed to find the truth. The first step is to become conscious enough to separate “what actually happened” from “your story about what happened”. Then, you can reflect on what the other person values and what you value so you can find some common ground. Finally, in order to grow, you must practice having conversations that both empathize with the other person’s values AND make your own requests clear. There, that was easy, wasn’t it??

Need some practice? Call the Truth Teller.

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