Do you often find yourself struggling to repress your “real feelings”? Do you find that your words do not match your authentic self? When face to face with another person can you live and speak your truth?
I find that the hardest part about saying what I really feel is having to look someone else in the eye and tell them something that I know they may not want to hear. What I have found is that when I am brave enough to overcome this fear, I am mostly respected for it. Yes, there are those occasional individuals who are highly offended when I directly speak truth. When this is the case, it is usually about the person and their own insecurities and not about me. When people react with anger, often my speaking the truth is clashing with the person’s vigilant efforts to attempt to deny their own reality and live their authentic truths.
More often than not I find that people respect my honesty. They know that when they are speaking or working with me that they do not have to worry about playing games. When I am genuine with them, it frees them to be real with me. This freedom allows relationships to be more honest, heartfelt and stable. This is a good thing. This is an important thing.
Why is it so hard for us to say what we are really feeling and thinking? More often than not we are not secure enough in ourselves to feel comfortable with another person being angry with us. The fear of the reaction is stronger than our commitment to authenticity. I believe the fear of the reaction can be worse than the reaction itself.
As I say this, please note that there are ways to present the truth to individuals that minimizes the negative reactions they may have. For example, if you are not happy with an employees performance at a certain meeting, you can share that in the context of two or three meetings where their performance was stellar (if this was really the case). Furthermore, you can share the difficult information in the context of an “I statement”. The formula is: “I feel ____ when you ___ and I need you to ______.” For example, “I feel concerned and embarrassed when you speak with the customers that way and I need you to be kinder in your interactions with them.”
I would also be so bold as to say that if a person cannot accept your speaking truth to them, the relationship may need assistance. Healthy relationships are based in honest communication.
Today, 353 days ’til 40, I will continue to strive for authenticity in all of my interactions.