Have you ever said something that you later regretted? Or perhaps you spoke your truth but it got you the exact opposite of what you intended or wanted? This has certainly happened to me, and I'm sure almost everyone can relate. There may have been momentary relief, but ultimately it didn't make anyone happier. So, what can you do to speak your truth in a way that works?
It's taken me time to understand how to communicate, be happy, and still speak my truth to build healthy relationships and boundaries. So, I'm sharing what I've learned that's effective.
First, PAUSE and BREATHE. Then ask yourself the following questions:
IS IT TRUE? We all have our own version of "truth." Sometimes, the stories we create in our head are based on our past experiences, judgments, and expectations that cloud what's actually occurring. Do you want the stories to control you? Or do you want to see clearly? How do you tell the difference? The heart always knows. So ask your heart if what you're about to say is really your truth. And then LISTEN.
IS IT KIND? "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me." NOT!! You know how it feels when words hurt. So, is what you're about to say based on vengeance and/or defensiveness? Or is it meant to promote communication? Kindness doesn't mean condoning bad behavior or letting people cross your boundaries. In fact, it promotes boundaries by fostering openness and mutual understanding, regardless of whether there is agreement about what's being said.
IS IT USEFUL? What you're about to say may be true, but it's not useful. As we know, it can have the opposite effect of what you intended or wanted. For example, telling someone they need to lose weight may be true, but it's not useful because they already know, and this shuts down meaningful discussion. The question then is, do you want to be right or do you want to communicate effectively?
IS IT TIMELY? Your words may be true, kind, and useful, but it may not be the proper time to speak. Do you want to just get it out in the heat of the moment? Or do you want to wait until the other person can hear it better? Many times pausing until later allows the space for everyone to "cool down" and be more receptive.
DOES IT HELP CONNECT? Speech that facilitates connection builds mutual understanding, growth, and harmonious resolution. When your speech is true, kind, useful, and timely, it naturally fosters connection. So, will what you say hinder or help you connect to another person? Will it promote harmony or discord? The choice is up to you.
Stay tuned for a blog about how to effectively ask for what you want and get it!