Honesty Is A Lie
51 days until I am 50
Yes I ate cake yesterday. No I don’t feel bad. No I didn’t lose weight today. What you probably don’t want to know even though it is the truth is the ins and outs of my decision making process yesterday and why I don’t feel guilty or why I know I will lose weight this week. Or maybe you do?
On a whole other level of honesty, you probably don’t want to know but I am going to tell you anyway. One of the reasons I think I didn’t lose weight today is because I got weighed earlier due to commitments today so it was before my ‘normal morning bathroom routine’ Yes I know too much information for some – but fact and quite relevant I think too.
How Honest Do You Want Me To Be?
I talk in my book Manage Your Critic about a story I once heard at a networking meeting about someone that had attended a board meeting. The chair was aware that things were not working in the company and he invited the room to speak up and share their honest thoughts about what was going wrong.
The room fell silent.
Heads turned to look at each other, wondering who would dare answer first if at all.
Then one brave person who really wanted the best for the company stepped forward and shared what he believed the problem to be.
Then as he finished the chair said “If that is what you feel about the company then you are fired” That person was dismissed there and then.
Now how honest do you think the rest of the board were that day?
What I believe happened for the chair is that he lacked the listening skills to listen to information that didn’t sit well with him or was unexpected. A bit like my morning routine – sorry I couldn’t resist 🙂
But for him it was his business, his livelihood and quite possibly everything that he believed reflected his achievements in life. To stand and listen to what someone else doesn’t like about it is a tough one.
And we can all be guilty of this. My worse performance was always at home when my children told me they hated me or that I was the worst mum on the planet because I wouldn’t buy them sweets or such like.
It is tough to receive feedback like that, especially when you are working hard to be the best you can be. It hurts to discover that either your best is not good enough or worse still you are displaying behavior that you were not consciously aware of that is impacting others.
I can remember feeling genuinely embarrassed and ashamed to discover that a particular behavior of mine was causing someone else pain.
Even worse when I unraveled why I did what I did, I discovered some really unkind thoughts that I was having that were fueling that response and sadly those feelings were due to a past experience and had nothing to do with this person at all.
Old pain that I had not acknowledged at the time was coming out and it was not attractive.
It takes massive heaps of courage to open yourself up for honest conversations, too speak about your feelings because they are complex and hard to articulate. We often lack the words and then fall into the trap of thinking we might sound stupid.
And many have not trained in the art of listening listening and questioning with compassion and without judgement so they often respond because their emotional triggers have been pushed and so the cycle continues.
Had the chair been able to listen without a critic and had he asked more questions then he would mostly likely have gained valuable insights. He could then have asked the rest of the board who thinks differently to that and gained a number of different perspectives.
He also could have asked what is working first. He could have gained some perspective that not everything is broken. He asked for what was not working and honesty and he got it.
Holding space and not responding emotionally is one way of encouraging an individual or group to feel safe to speak. You have to make everything shared okay and give all responses equal opportunity. Not favoring one answer or person more than the other.
Honesty is something many if not all, including me profess to want and need and yet how honest do you really want us to be?
How honest is honest?
And can you really handle the truth emotionally?
I do get a little frustrated and find myself smiling on the inside when people and it is usually men but not exclusively – say things like “stop being so emotional” when in that moment their response is often one driven by their emotions.
They don’t like seeing the emotion of others so they emotionally respond with “buck up” or “get over it”
If you are someone that feels extremely uncomfortable with someone when they cry and you say things like “I can’t stand it when people are too emotional”.
I am curious “Do you ever get cross? Are you short tempered? Do you show anger?”
These are emotional responses too. We are all emotional. We are humans not robots.
And I am sure we all have different levels of tolerance that determines what is the definition of ‘too’ emotional.
Since learning to manage my critic my system is no longer overloaded with emotion therefore generally speaking any tears now are ones of compassion and joy.
And I was ‘too’ emotional in the past by my own standards.
I didn’t like overreacting.
I didn’t like the fact the reaction was out before I could find a way to calmly respond.
I was often in tears (mostly at home) and I could not find the words to express myself.
At home I was also more likely to be short tempered and have been known to slam the odd door or two. I am so glad that level of frustration with myself is in the past.
Acknowledging Pain As It Happens
And sometimes things hurt. People can do and say things that hurt my feelings and that can and does upset me. I still cry – I give myself time to acknowledge the pain and release it through the tears or by talking about it.
Tears are by far the quickest way and most effective way for me to let go when the environment is suitable.
As I explore the concept of showing up as the whole of me, I am wondering whether the world is really ready for me to be completely honest.
What do you think?
- How well can you listen to information that makes you feel uncomfortable?
- How do you need to be for others to feel safe to speak honestly?
- When you want honesty what do you really mean by honesty?
If you have found this article useful please comment, please share and if you want to develop your skills to manage your critic and improve your communications at home and work please do get in touch.
Feel free to share below your thoughts or join us in the Facebook group Manage your critic
If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will happy set you up for success. I might be part of the solution you need and I might not but you will you know your next best step. Or you can Purchase a copy of my book here
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.
Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.
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