Speak Your Truth
Last week was a weird one. I was going to skip right over it and write a post about my love for beautiful and unique things or talk about week 2 of 18 in ‘18. Then I realized the most effective way to quiet the roar in my head is to throw entirely different words on this screen. And that’s what this post is really about: Using your words. Speaking your truth. This post is about our narratives. The stories we tell ourselves. Have you ever thought that someone was upset with you and, instead of talking to them, you created a narrative in your head and as you told yourself this, the story snowballed and grew larger than life and drown out any intrusive, reasonable thoughts. No? You haven’t? I think you’re full of shit and pointing that out is the point of this post. “I can’t lose the weight. Why try?” “I wonder if my boss is mad at me? She/he probably is. I’m going to get fired!” “I haven’t heard from a friend in a while. I wonder if they are mad at me? They probably are. I should give them space.” I’d be lying to you if I said I’d never thought any (or all) of these thoughts. What made this week interesting is that I was on the other side of one of these scenarios. I was the friend. Or more accurately, I thought I was the friend. This story and this post are questioning why we do this. Why do we do this to ourselves? We build up a false narrative all because we’re afraid to talk to people. The irony of the fact that I do this isn’t lost on me. In my role as a Human Resources professional, employees often approach me with their narrative which has been run through their filters and been shaped by their perspective. One of the first questions I ask the person is, “did you talk to this person?” Most times, they look at me in horror and disbelief and we then move forward and discuss having a conversation. Who’s HR for us in real life? Life outside the workplace? Who do we reality test with? And, is that person just as fucked up as we are? Maybe we don’t talk to anyone and the narrative spins and is colored by emotion — and not the good emotions. The assholey emotions... Fear Doubt Envy To name a few. Maybe, just maybe, your boss/friend/spouse is perceptive and they will call you on your shit. This is your invitation to have a conversation. To be vulnerable. To speak your truth. That’s one option. The other option is denial, which is really dishonest and serves no one. If you keep things bottled up, chances are you won’t be your best self when you are called on your shit. Because the narrative will have grown to epic, often fictional, proportions. This week, I was the person who called someone on their shit. And they released their truth which was no doubt shaped by their own, fictional narrative and emotions that cast me as larger than life. Unapproachable. The truth came out and my feelings were hurt. And? I’m fucking pissed off. Which I realize is why this person, and people in general, avoid having these conversations. The more time that passes without having a conversation makes it more difficult. The sooner we approach the other person, the sooner they can correct our narrative. Our narrative is more about us than it is the other person. So speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. Speak early. Speak often. Make those conversations, those relationships, a priority.