That's fine... I suppose it's not the image I wanted to cultivate, but it is what it is. Honesty is something that is important to me. For too many years I was dishonest about too many things: my sexuality, the way people made me feel, the way I felt about other people and situations, and on and on. In the southern US, and especially in east Texas Southern Baptist mentality, one is expected to memorize the three R's: Repress, Repress, Repress. Bottle up all those silly emotions and ideas of individuality and difference and blend.
By the time I was 18, it was clear that this mode of communication - or non-communication, rather - had taken its toll on my psyche.
After a few years in therapy, far too much casual sex, and working through my self-image issues, I finally came to a place where I felt good about myself. Good enough to not let people walk over me. I also came to a place of honesty in my life - there's that H word again.
Recently I was asked how it is that I'm able to say the things I say without crying afterwards. How am I this 'brave'? I don't think of it as bravery at all. I also don't just say things to hear myself talk. I am me. If I wanted to hear me spout off at the mouth I could do that quite easily without all the podcasting accoutrements. So, then, why...or how, rather, do I say the things I say?
Here's a quick tip, a mini-lesson in speaking your mind:
- Decide if the thing you want to say needs to be said. Now, I'm talking 'need' here. Not 'want' level speech. We're all adults. We should know the difference between the things we want (like a shiny new iPad) and the things we need (groceries and a roof over our heads). The same thing applies to speaking your mind. Did you ever see that movie Ever After? Anjelica Huston's character has a wonderful line that says, "Don't speak unless you can improve the silence." Well, it's sort of true when it comes to sticky situations that merit a speaking of one's mind. Decide what needs to be said and stick to that and only that. Don't over-editorialize; don't interject too much personal opinion into the matter. Just say what needs to be said.
- Decide if saying something will improve the situation. Sure, something might need to be said, but will you accomplish anything by saying it? If I'm a messy housekeeper and you, as my friend, tell me I need to clean my house, I might be inclined to let that thought go right out the other ear. Is the listener willing to listen and to truly internalize what you're telling them? If you're going to say something potentially blunt and pointed, make sure it's not going to fall on deaf ears.
- Decide if you will feel worse for not saying something. If you're going to keep beating yourself up about it, then it might be imperative to your psychological health to get what needs to be said off your chest.
Now, remember, you might want to tell your boss off or curse out your neighbor because of their rude behavior, but that might not be what needs to happen. Assess the situation and make a good, informed, balanced, and karmically sound decision.
Any more questions or advice, send your emails in or leave a comment!
Love and Lyte,