Sometimes it takes guts to speak our truth, to be gentle and kind. As discussed in the Speaking Your Truth Kindly blog sometimes it is tricky to speak our truth without harming ourself and others. Our emotions can be strong and can lead us to express ourselves in unhelpful ways. Remembering wise speech really helps with this.
Asking ourselves these important questions, before we speak our truth both to ourselves and others really helps prevent and change unhelpful habits
1. Is it True? - not exaggerated or out of context.
For example - 'you 'never' do anything around the house'. 'you 'always'....'
2. Is it Well intended/Kind? - What is my intention in saying this? Is it to help the other person or all about my need to be mean, bossy, right or approved of
3. Is it Necessary?
4. Is it timely? - Is this the right time to be discussing this? Often I don't stop to consider what the other person is in the middle of before I make my request for something to be done now.
When we have satisfied all these, we can then speak our truth wisely. Sometimes this can feel a little 'cruel to be kind.' But if it is true, well intentioned or kind, necessary and timely we can't go wrong. What is helpful to remember thought, is let go of the result of the kind advice being heard or acted upon by another. Sometimes I can get very attached to others doing what I think is best, even with a kind intention. Like when I suggest a 'floordrobe' tidy. However with my wise speech in order, I can say what I need to and let go of the need to manipulate and control or to be approved of.
I was reminded of this last week when I met a friend for our regular Friday coffee. I first met this person when I was working at a rehabilitation centre. Despite some severe health issues he was kind, polite and put in his best effort. About five years ago I saw him in our neighbourhood and went up and reintroduced myself. We decided to meet regularly on a Friday for coffee and a chat. which we both enjoy He is not working and lives in a special accommodation home. Often he is very dishevelled as he lacks some insight and understanding of personal hygiene and self care.
So we met last Friday and to my pleasant surprise he was looking great, he was clean, had showered and had clean clothes on. I remarked on how great it was to be with him looking and smelling so good. I asked if had had a shower. Yes, he replied - the nurse made me. I said to pass on my thanks to that kind nurse, as it had made it so much more enjoyable to catch up with him. He said - oh yes, i suppose you have to be 'cruel to be kind'. This reminded me that it takes guts sometimes to get ourselves out of the way and suggest what is best for the other person. In this case, to strongly suggest to, 'have a shower'. I am sure that nurses' advice was not so welcomed by my friend. But her intention was to help and it certainly did, both my friend and all those he met. Sometimes it takes guts to speak our truth to be gentle and kind. We all get many opportunities to extend this kindness or tough love. Certainly as parents and friends these are frequent. My daughter once wrote a whole essay on 'don't you hate it when your mum says- 'I am doing this for your own good' (usually putting some limits on some unhelpful behaviour).
I find it so helpful to consider these questions before, I but in with advice, or withhold it. to And then to let go of getting the result I want.
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