Looking back at how I reached this awareness, there are three key take-aways.
Persistence: It's not easy to create a new habit. When given a chance, we fall back and cave into what we're comfortable with. Acknowledging I wanted to change my communication style when sharing information honestly, it required that I was steadfast in my commitment to be mindful when speaking with others.
I found it helpful to create a mantra that I could use daily as a reminder as to how I wanted to show up in talking to others. The one that worked for me was familiar, short and sweet - "think before speaking." Don't feel you need to create a beautiful, long affirmation that becomes difficult to remember. Often, one or two words can work better, especially if spoken with passion.
And use it every day until you're saying it in your dreams. Persist until it becomes second nature.
Humility: This was one of my favorite realizations. When speaking with others in the normal course of the day, we don't get to rehearse what we're going to say. The beauty of conversation is the natural ebb and flow that occurs spontaneously. Remembering the give and take in sharing information means giving the other person a chance to be heard.
If you're sharing some honest information, allow the other person to share back. Ask how they feel about your comment. Don't be afraid to allow some silent space while they gather their thoughts for their reply.
And, add some heartfelt emotion to the way you deliver your news. Whether it's humor or sincere compassion, the feelings behind the words carry an energy of their own and can soften the edges of honest communication.
Cooperation: Why is it that we're more brutally honest with the people closest to us? We lob a shot, they throw one back. We up the ante and pretty soon, the honesty you were trying to share has escalated into a full-blown argument.
It usually comes back to ego and our burning need to be right. If you turn it around, who safer to be vulnerable with than our family, friends, partners and spouses? If you can let go of ego, and the notion that your are competing to win in your honesty, you can come from a place of cooperation instead. I believe it's Wayne Dyer who says, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
I always think of that statement when I make the choice in how MUCH I want to share and exactly HOW I want to share with those who matter to me.
Going forward: What I can truly appreciate is that this is ongoing work for me. There will be times when I will likely have to apologize for blurting out what's on my mind. But - the intention I hang on to is that when speaking honestly, I will be less about drama and more about grace.
So how are YOU choosing to communicate honestly? Any good lessons you've learned along the way?
Today I set the intention to speak the truth to others in smaller, more palatable ways, remaining mindful of the energy behind my words at all times.
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
"Every day, think as you wake up, I am fortunate to be alive, I have
a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all
my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others;
to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to
have kind thoughts toward others, I am not going to get angry or think
badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."
Trusting in the perfection of this moment, I turn within and surrender to the love that enfolds all that is. It is the One Perfect Life that is tolerant and patient. It is the Infinite Power of excellence and strength. This Perfect Life and Infinite Power fills life with kindness and grace, with harmony and peace.
Surrendering even further, I dive deep into the knowing that I am one with the Divine Spirit that dwells within. My actions and my thoughts reflect the truth at my core - that Creative Intelligence seeks to experience life THROUGH me, that this Source that I call God shows the way and guides AS me.
In every area of my life, I remain open to speaking my word from a place of trust and integrity. My spiritual practice of mindfulness acts daily as a reminder that I am the essence of love and peace in the words I speak. I welcome the feelings of compassion and humor as I strengthen my honesty muscle. And I affirm that the humility of my actions lets the brilliance and the light of Divine Spirit shine through in every encounter throughout my day. My smile is more radiant and my inner world more serene as I linger in a sacred place of knowing that all is truly well and good.
Remaining open to the all-good of the Universe, I am filled with deep gratitude for every minute of the day. I give great thanks for the ease and grace that flow through the words I speak and I am grateful for the wonderful experiences revealed in my life as I maintain integrity in my communication with others.
In faith and trust, I release my word to the Divine Action of the Law, knowing it is already done. I see evidence of my prayer in the steady flow of good returned to me. And I let it be so. And so it is.