I have spent my life learning to communicate with honesty about the way I feel. If someone upsets me then I will usually tell them. In the past I have done this when I’ve been overwhelmed with anger, frustration or feeling hurt. My ‘truth’ was shaped into barbarous arrows designed to wound and hit their mark. After years of self-reflection and ongoing development I have released shed loads of baggage from my past. Today I am better equipped to speak my truth with less emotional intensity so that I can convey how I feel in a way that honours and respects the other person. But it hasn’t been easy.
Many people find it hard to say how they feel. They carefully guard the truth held in their heart because to expose such honesty holds the potential for explosive consequences. People perceive deep conversations as heavy or too intense – let’s keep things light.
Communication becomes tainted with a veneer of superficiality. Polite words are carefully chosen to neutralise and diffuse. Walking on egg shells becomes normalised. Two people become adept at avoiding ‘the elephant in the room’. This preserves the illusion of togetherness that is held in place with plasters and sticky tape. Conversations are conducted to orchestrate a harmonious existence. Roles are played, masks are worn and each individual carefully selects their words in the same way that one chooses chocolates from a large selection box. We like to keep things sweet.
Many people choose to withhold how they feel and will actively seek to cut off any attempt at a conversation that requires depth. I’ve encountered people who refuse to enter the courageous conversation’s arena fearing that they will be attacked, judged and criticised. When another person refuses to enter into a discussion they gag us. Our opportunity to express ourselves is denied and we are left simmering in all those things left unsaid. Adults regress into children as they runaway or withdraw when confronted with the possibility of an honest conversation. This destructive pattern causes people to become either ‘emotionally unavailable’ (“I don’t want to talk about it”) or ‘people pleasers’ (“I don’t want to upset you”).
The emotional connection that is born from a courageous conversation will provide both people with a powerful opportunity to learn, understand and grow. When people can speak honestly whilst holding respect for themselves and each other, then almost every problem is softened.
When you look beyond the carefully crafted walls that people have built up over the years you experience a real sense of who they really are at their core. When you really look at another you catch a glimpse of their soul – you see how hard they try. You sense their struggle and their pain. What you perceive in that person is a mirror of what’s going on for you. When you speak with superficial nicety you are effectively denying you and the other person the chance for full expression of who you both are. The world then becomes noisy with the incessant chatter of meaningless conversations that are literally killing our spirit.
You may encounter people that cut you off and withdraw when you speak your truth. It’s too much for them. Why? Because your truth awakens their truth and most people are living with lies. They’ve convinced themselves that they are sorted emotionally and coping well with life. How many times have you heard people say “I’m fine” when they are anything but fine? How many times have you heard people say “with respect” just before they disrespect you? Childhood conditioning and conforming to polite societal expectations create more barriers to truth. There are people we know and love who don’t want to hear ‘our truth’ so in order to keep the peace we keep quiet. How many people are living in a relationship that has become worn and tired yet perpetuates the illusion that all is well? How many people feel lost and scared yet post ‘evidence of their great life’ on Facebook? How many people have become muted and exhausted with the continual need to hide their truth and push down how they really feel? The absolute need to exert control and to feel in control becomes all consuming. The whole concept of speaking your truth is terrifying because it opens up the potential for that ‘can of worms’ to escape into your life. Will these worms run rampant? What damage might they do?
If we deny ourselves or we deny others the opportunity to express themselves honestly then we are muting our own chance for true happiness. Even if the other person responds badly to your honest expression you have honoured yourself. No matter how scared you feel about having conversations that are deep and emotive you’ll discover that when you speak up you’ll feel a lightness that helps ease your passage through life.
When we next meet I want to look you in the eye and tell you how I feel. I want to listen and understand how you are feeling deep down in the recesses of your heart. I want to converse in a way that excites our souls and stimulates the truth to surrender and reveal itself. I want to have this level of openness with you.
Whoever you are and whatever the nature of our relationship I want us both to be true to who we really are inside. Are you ready for this?