How To Speak Our Truth
“I cannot stand it anymore! These people are just plain mean. They misbehave, they are not listening, and they just don’t care about my ideas.” Ralph and I were discussing his current work situation. He had recently taken a job in New York, and at the time, he was convinced it was his dream job. Quickly after arriving at his new employment, he had the feeling he was unwanted. Now, this is not a new feeling for Ralph. Ralph had grown up in a home where his mother struggled with mental illness. On two separate occasions, she had kicked him out of the house, and he had no place to go. This memory continues to haunt him.
Recently, Ralph was completing a peer review questionnaire. I received a call from Ralph, “I don’t know what to do. I want to tell the truth, but I fear retaliation.” “How about you tell the truth with compassion,” I suggested. “But what if they kick me out?” he suggested. “Then this is not a nurturing place for your career,” I said. So, Ralph and I spent the afternoon focusing on speaking truth with love.
Why We Are Stuck
So many times, we remain stuck in situations for all the wrong reasons. We stay in difficult marriages, thinking the kids will suffer. We don’t realize that the kids are already suffering because their parents don’t love, honor, or trust each other. We stay in jobs that wear us down, fearing that we are too old or untalented to create another opportunity for ourselves. We remain imprisoned in our unhealthy habits because we have built relationships with drugs, food, alcohol, porn, etc.- instead of developing a loving relationship with ourselves. We want comfort, but we cannot offer loving solace to ourselves. We stay trapped in jobs, relationships, habits, and viewpoints because they offer something to us. Whether it is an illusion of safety or the familiar, we continue because there is a payoff. Therefore, we continue on the same cycle of settling for the usual and ending up distraught.
As we sat there, I kept asking Ralph, “Tell me something Joan does well?” “Nothing, she’s a b@#ch!” “Well, is that how the divine would see it?” I asked. Ralph sat there stumped. “Okay, she is really good at organizing projects.” “Good. Now, I would like you to compile a list of everything she is gifted or good at. Then, please mention those first as it relates to the question being posed.” “But what about what she does wrong?” Ralph asked. “Is it that she does it poorly, or is it that you have a problem with her?
Well, some of it is that. But some things Joan does not do well.” “And so, we want the truth. The things that she does not do well, you would want to give constructive feedback, right?” “What?” Ralph snapped. “Well, if you don’t want to be a whiner or a saboteur, how about being a loving supporter?” The look of disgust on Ralph’s face was palpable. “Remember, if you want to love yourself and feel that you have moved in integrity, we always do something to honor ourselves. Do you want to bully the bully? Is the answer to become what you despise?” Ralph looked as if he had an inner conversation. “Your right,” he admitted. We spent the balance of the afternoon wordsmithing his responses. Over and over, we asked, “How could we say this with the most hopeful tone?”
Having Hope In Difficult Situations
When we were finished, Ralph said, “If this is how we can do it, why do I feel so uncomfortable?” “How often do you absolutely adore yourself?” “I am not adoring myself here; I am flattering Joan!” he balked. “When we move in love, even in the most difficult of situations, we offer a gift of radical self-love. Despite the outcome or their reaction, deep down, we know we did everything we could at the highest integrity level. Their acceptance or rejection of that fact is their internal lesson. We learn to love ourselves for it.” “Wow, this is so different. I am not used to it,” Ralph mentioned. “Of course not. Most people thrive on attack and defense,” I offered. When we want things to change, we must hold a space for something to be different. Even if things are difficult now, we fuel the thought that there remains a realm of infinite possibilities. People feel our hope, and some even begin to feel the support and love we offer them. And every so often, things radically transform. Without embracing hope, nothing will ever be different for us.