My mom and I were recently chatting last week about how uncomfortable things could get in our family. In the past, family members have gotten defensive, unfriended each other from social media and even stopped talking for a long time.
I’ve seen and heard a lot! Being 100% Italian can be a blessing and a curse. We’re huggy, kissy, go to great lengths to make people feel good, create delish meals and express our love. On the flip side, being Italian can be a curse because when someone wrongs us because we can hold on to anger, unforgiveness, judgement and create a vendetta – one day at a time that lasts for decades. It's just destructive.
It seems we're not the only ones. Do you have someone in your life or a group of people that you have a hard time communicating with? If so, there is a way to move forward, and it is . . .
Speak the truth in love.
What does this even mean? It means speaking what you believe to be true with empathy, kindness and with a focus to understand the other person.
Telling the truth can be difficult, especially if we're afraid of being judged or have been hurt in the past. We really don't want to hurt others and we don't want to get hurt ourselves.
Let’s look at what’s holding you back and then move into 10 tips to truth telling.
Here are a few insights about how you can express your feelings, respect other people’s opinions, find common ground and speak the truth in love.
The thing is, relationships are risky.
There is a risk to expressing our truth. We risk not being fully understood. We can risk being judged. There is a risk that others will totally disagree with us and not want to have a future relationship with us.
But risk we must.
To love another person is to risk being our authentic self and seeing the other as their true self. As Shakespeare so eloquently said, "To thine own self be true.”
So let's take a moment and share some strategies that work with speaking the truth in love.
10 Strategies to Truth Telling
1. What is holding you back? Take a moment to think about why you have not shared your truth in the past.
2. Think about the impact of what you want to say. How is the person likely to respond? If it is a delicate situation, you'll want to think through your words and think about how you might be more kind and loving and less judgmental.
3. Be humble.
4. What is the outcome if I do not express my truth? Will we have a less connected relationship? Will the person really know what I think and feel? Or am I happy to keep things less authentic.
5. What feelings do I have about bringing up this topic? Am I angry that I already brought this up and nothing has changed? Am I disappointed that the person doesn't really know what I think already? No one can be a mind reader and we sometimes expect others to be one
6. Will the situation change without my me bringing up my ideas?
7. Is there someone else that can be the messenger? For a delicate situation to be heard and understood, you may want to see if someone else would be a better messenger.
8. Pay particular attention to your tone of voice and your body language. Try to keep level eye contact with the person and open body postures.
9. Imagine ’What's the worst thing that can happen?”
10. If the topic is too emotional for you and you still want to communicate your thoughts and feelings, consider writing a letter. Take 24 hours to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. If you still think you cannot talk about it rationally, write down your thoughts, position and feelings. Let the letter sit for at least a day, re-read it and decide itfyou want to rewrite it or throw it away. If you do send it, ask for a reply from the other person in writing.
11. Communicate with a lot of I statements. Say, “I feel, I think, I believe” sentences. Find common ground and try to build on those areas. Then move into, “We agree in this area.” Use the words yes, and . . . to begin building a bridge between you both.
Speaking the truth in love is like a bridge that connects you to another person in a new and deeper ways. It’s wonderful when you are rational, kind and get closer. It can be a little scary and you need to pay attention. Ultimately, if you disagree. at least you know that you expressed what was in your heart.
Here are some of my favorite things to say. One it sounds like you feel very passionate about that. I do too. Number 2 thank you for sharing your opinion. Would you like to hear mine? Asking for permission opens up the door for the person 2 be open towhat you have to say. If they say no then you know it's time to walk away. Nobody needs that.
The next time you find yourself needing to tell the truth, remember that love is patient, kind, and gentle and keeps no record of offenses.
So, get out there - be real and be loving. Speak your truth and love.