Do you ever wonder when speaking the truth is appropriate? How can we decide whether or not what we’re saying is worth saying at all?
I remember hearing somewhere that the need to tell the truth is directly correlated by the listener’s ability to use it. I find this observation to be true in so many ways.
Have you ever been in a bad work situation that demands change, but the person in charge refuses to accept the truth and do anything with it? Have you ever heard from a co-worker, “You’re preaching to the choir?”.
I’ve gotten myself in hot waters by speaking the truth to a crowd who didn’t want to hear it. I remember being ostracized and having a difficult time understanding why the truth wasn’t being well received. Then, one day, my husband Franck, pulled out a nugget of wisdom and said, “Do you think that the truth isn’t obvious to them?”.
Sometimes, the truth of a situation is so glaringly obvious that only a fool couldn’t see it. For a while, I felt I was the bigger fool for speaking the truth. I then reconsidered and decided that speaking the truth may have got somebody upset, but it did get them to face their issues once and for all.
However, there are times when blurting out the truth and calling people out isn’t necessary. I knew a person growing up who seemed to be in a constant state of depression. Caring for this person deeply, I tried to give unsolicited advice and help to this person; even suggesting they get professional help. This friend chose not to take my advice and continued on his path of pain.
There was a point where I realized that he knew he needed help, but didn’t want it. He preferred the life he was living – if fact, he told me he was happier that way. So, I just stopped offering advice and started being his friend while maintaining my distance from his problems. The relationship improved because I let go of my need to help him – even if we both knew he needed help. I realized that the only way I could help him was to live my life and let him lead his, hoping that I could – through my own actions and decisions to be happy – would inspire him to act for himself.
With that said, I find that we tell the truth to reconcile the dissonance within ourselves. Sometimes, we must speak the truth – our version of it, really – , sometimes we must choose to simply acknowledge it. Other times, we must acknowledge the truth, speak it, and take action to address it. At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves if speaking the truth has value to its listener and if what we have to say is going to prove itself worthy of the breath we use to express it.
This question does not always have an easy answer. In fact, the consequences of what we have said often times do not make themselves known until long after the fact. It does, however, pay off to be more mindful of our words and their actual benefit.
How do you feel about speaking the truth? Do you feel that you must call everything and everybody out? Are you more discreet when you sense dissonance? Share your thoughts here.
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