My cousin, Peetie, like an old Western cowboy, always says “We are nothing if we are not our word.” Honoring our word is the stuff of life. One way to do it is Speaking Authentically — Eye to eye, heart to heart! It’s what makes life solid, not squishy.
I had a lot of trouble with lying when I was a kid. Growing up with emotional trauma in my childhood, I felt that I had to hide my truth in order to preserve my dignity. I didn’t want my parents to think less of me, so I would hide the truth about myself if I could. I’d say I’d done my homework when I hadn’t touched it. I’d say I’d done a chore, then I’d scramble as fast as I could to do it before I was found out (that I hadn’t). My life felt really squishy.
A lifetime of learning brings me to the other end of the spectrum. Emotional truth appears as the most powerful bond. Being transparent and vulnerable are the traits of great leaders. Telling the truth makes things solid. I was tested recently in an interaction with my Aikido sensei. I’ve been her student for 15 years and I have the highest respect for her as she has taught me some of my most powerful life lessons—like how to stay centered in the face of attack. I bow to her and the last thing I want is to be disrespectful.
However, she is struggling with a serious illness that throws her into chaos and her chaos impacts me tremendously. I’ve been a little afraid to tell her my truth. This week, I used the Resilient Mindset of Courage. I sat down with her and used the Connecting Skill of Speaking Authentically. I was straight with her — eye to eye, heart to heart. It was a huge relief. She was touched deeply and appreciated how my truth had helped her.
My encounter with my sensei reminded me once again how the Resilient Mindset of Courage can help us use the Connecting Skill of Speaking Authentically. We can feel relief and connection because we are aligning our words with our values. We can move from squishy to solid.
What might be in your heart that you have kept closeted? How might Speaking Authentically and honoring your word give you freedom?
Chuck and the Dovetail Learning team