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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  It's Safe to Speak the Truth Quickly and Kindly
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Tuesday, July 5,2011

It's Safe to Speak the Truth Quickly and Kindly

By Cary Bayer  
A Recently, I gave my “Fundamentals of Success” corporate seminar at a great company in Jacksonville, Florida, where harmony and a family feeling prevail. Family atmospheres are a rarity in business today. That’s the good news. Now the bad news: Most families are dysfunctional. The odds are high that the family you grew up in fits that mold.

While Microsoft lets us process information throughout the globe in microseconds, our religious institutions and psychologists haven’t taught us how to communicate effectively with family, friends, or co-workers when the information that needs to be communicated is uncomfortable. We blemish our communications with white lies, withheld comments, and gossip--to say nothing of baldfaced lies and back-stabbing. Very little truth is spoken plainly, quickly, and kindly.

We need to realize that it’s safe to tell the truth quickly and kindly. When I make this point in my “Conscious Communication” class, many people squirm in their seats and hands go flying up in opposition. We have all learned as small children that we have to play nice in the world. I agree. We also were taught that we have to speak nicely, and not to say unkind things to others. As a result, we’ve been swallowing our truths for decades. As a result, our throats have been holding on to so much unexpressed communication, it’s amazing that there’s not more cancer of the larynx and throat.

I’m not suggesting to be unkind.

The sentence that you read in the paragraph above, remember, went “It’s safe to tell the truth quickly and kindly.” When you speak your truth quickly, it doesn’t have that long pent-up and repressed energy that it has when you swallow what you wish to communicate for fear that it might hurt someone and/or that that person might hurt you in reply. So it sits there and festers. The key to mastering this truth is to not only speak your truth quickly, but to do it kindly, as well.

Let’s suppose someone said something, or did something, that you felt hurt by. Many people say nothing, repressing what they wish to communicate. It festers inside them and becomes poisonous. By the time it eventually gets expressed, it can come out with volcanic force, completely unrelated to whatever touched it off in the present. Such is the power of long-suppressed truths.

Last night, in fact, a dear friend of mine—one of the oldest and dearest friends in my life, for that matter—finally told me in a twohour car ride that we shared with nobody else around that there was something I said and something I didn’t do a year ago. He had bottled up this feeling inside of him, driving a wedge between us.

The issue came up in the first place because I expressed--in a kind manner--that I felt that our relationship had deteriorated, quietly faded into relationship oblivion, reduced to about one night a year. (True, I live only four months per year near him—but it’s a 10-minute drive kind of nearness.) Unexpressed communications, however, can drive a wedge that prevents 10-minute drives; he could live next door, and the relationship could still be one night a year when truth is swallowed and not spoken.

So he finally communicated his truth. I listened silently and deeply and took it in. I then spoke my truth in response to his communication. He listened silently and deeply and took it in. He sees my point of view, one he hadn’t even considered because he was stuck in his point of view on the situations. He hadn’t asked how I saw it, because he was too uncomfortable to talk about it, fearing a confrontation.

Now he’s thinking deep and hard about my point of view. It’s quite possible that he will let go of his judgment and anger, and come to see the soundness of why I said what I said, and why I didn’t do what I didn’t do. It’s also possible that he won’t. But by speaking his truth and not letting it fester deep inside of him, the wedge between us has disappeared.

We can now agree to disagree about what was said and what didn’t happen and move on. And it’s quite likely that that one night per year relationship may expand to once a month. At least that’s what the smart money in Las Vegas says as far as early odds go.


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