The truth is simple – choose the words that support what really happened. How often do we actually do this – tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? This type of accuracy is easier than inventing little white lies, half-truths or other fabrications we have to keep track of. The fact is, the truth is much easier to remember and is imperative for trust!
We convey part of what really happened in fear of getting in trouble, hurting someone’s feelings, concealing our less than noble actions or heaven forbid, being caught looking bad. Have you ever noticed that the lack of truth or misuse of words will typically come back to haunt you? When you betray others, you betray yourself because no one will want to be around you…including yourself. Think about it.
It makes me wonder how often we stop to consider what we say and how we say it. We habitually create unconscious patterns of communication that are hard to see and even harder to break. Besides material objects, the only thing we can give to someone is our word. Through time, every seed – or thought – we plant will grow and it becomes useful to ask: “Do I want to harvest thistles or flowers?” If we understood that we manifest what we say, we might actually plan ahead!
It often starts in children – we learn to lie so we won’t get in trouble and we blame others so we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions. Recently, I heard a parent use an angry voice to ask “did you break this cup?” The child, scared, said “no, Johnny did it”, which was not true. Here, the foundation of fear was laid and a child will learn to live with the anticipation of punishment when telling the truth unless that pattern changes.
The result will be different when that parent asks the same question in a calm, loving voice. It is important to reassure a child that they “won’t get in trouble when they tell the truth.” Parents have to consistently mirror integrity and good character. As a result, a child will learn to be truthful because it is the right thing to do and it is what they were taught. Along with frequent encouragement, a child will gain confidence and not live in fear of getting into trouble.
When this cycle is carried into adulthood, it becomes a reflex. It is important that within every relationship, we create a safe place to be open & honest. We must be aware that the words we choose can build a relationship or destroy it.
How do we create the surroundings that inspire the truth?
1) Resist the urge to overreact.
2) Let the person speak freely. Don’t take what they say and use it against them as ammunition in the future. It’s tempting, but you will lose their trust.
3) Give the person the space to talk without a response until they are finished. Be a great listener.
4) Don’t be quick to cast judgments or accusations. Acceptance is a good tool here.
5) Take responsibility for your part in the situation. Admit when you are wrong, say you are sorry.
6) Ask questions about the situation instead of placing blame. For example, a person just told you they stole something. An inappropriate response is “How could you do that, you idiot?!” A better response would be “How did you justify your actions at the time?”
How to be as good as your word?
1) Speak only kind words and don’t say anything you would not want that person to hear
2) Don’t gossip
3) Think before you speak
4) Use words you will not regret
5) Keep your promises
6) Put others before you
7) When you are angry, drink a full glass of water…it will drown those nasty thoughts
8) Realize your self-worth belongs only to you
9) Make sure your thoughts align with the words that come out of your mouth
10) Forgive yourself for being less than perfect
Where do you go from here?
We all have done things we regret; we have hurt people’s feelings, we have not told the truth, we have not chosen wisely and frankly, we are not always the best we can be. It’s never too late to change the patterns of behavior that do not make us happy and it is not too late to become conscious of the impact we have on ourselves and others, through our actions and our words.
Put this list on your refrigerator and practice. Acknowledge that any sort of change only comes from deep within you. Rest assured that no one else can change you as much as they would like to…you have to do it yourself. The result is enriched relationships, inner happiness and love. For best results, use patience; that peaceful, forgiving place that rests quietly inside you, always.