It’s been said that the very young and the very old are brutally honest. Young children haven’t yet come to understand the concept of politeness in society. The very elderly, quite frankly, just don’t care sometimes. They believe they’ve earned the right to speak their minds without necessarily caring how it is received. The nearer I get to 60 the more that seems perfectly logical to me.
I decided a long time ago not to wait until I was in my 90s to start speaking my mind. I still fail miserably (by my personal standards) in speaking up the way I could, but I continue to work on myself in this regard. We can learn from the two groups of people I mentioned: Those who are beginning their trek on this planet and those who are readying themselves for their next experience. We don’t need to blurt out whatever is on our minds at the expense of others, but we do learn to speak the truth even if there is some collateral damage.
I have found one of the easiest ways to answer a question is by telling the truth as succinctly and plainly as possible. It eliminates the need to remember what I said the last time someone asked me the same question because I know I didn’t make up some lie that was “white” or convenient. It often tends to shut people up who are just complaining. They become righteously indignant that you actually told them they look ridiculous in the outfit they are wearing or that you don’t agree that they should go back to their abusive partner for the twentieth time.
Why don’t we always tell the truth and tell it quickly? Sometimes we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. There are ways to tell the truth without offending people, but it still must be the truth. The major reason we don’t always tell truth is that we’ve done something we don’t want other people to know about or we are ashamed of our actions. There was a simple rule of thumb my mother gave us growing up: When is doubt, don’t. It is also perfectly wise advice and eloquently simplistic.
Another reason is that if we tell our partner that our relationship is over because you can’t take one more lie we might just have to deal with the outcome of that statement. It’s been my experience that when one person in a relationship is ready to move on the other person is a well, whether or not s/he wants to admit it. Telling the truth may mean packing some boxes and moving out, but it beats packing down our feelings until we are moved to emotional collapse and spiritual ruin.
Consider taking a day, or even a week, to be aware of what is coming out of your mouth, and judging (for yourself) whether or not it’s really the truth. If is not, what would you be willing to do to rephrase your statement?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,