What if you meant what you said? I mean every single word. (Well, maybe not every single word…I can think of some slang that would be pretty awkward *grin*) But what if you were present and aware of what you were saying and who you were saying it to all the time? What if niceties weren’t just niceties, and small talk wasn’t so small?
If you actually thought about and cared about everything you said, how would it sound different? Would there be more depth in your tone, more presence and weight to the words? If you took the time to think about how your words affect others, or didn’t affect them because of the hollow nature in which they were uttered, would it change the content and way that you speak?
What would it be like to be absolutely authentic?
I’m sure we would all like to think that we are authentic. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are honest, that we say only and exactly what we mean, that we are people of high linguistic integrity…but I have a feeling that isn’t always the case. In fact, it is more likely almost never the case. Studies show that people who believe they are being completely honest in a short conversation actually lie (often without any realization of it) almost 3 times per 10 minutes of conversation. Children begin lying between 2 and 3 and it becomes so ingrained in our language patterns that nearly no one is actually aware of all the subtle insincerities in our daily interactions.
Were you REALLY late because of traffic? Or was the traffic worse because you left your house later than usual? Does the distinction matter?
Are you really ‘fine’? And you care or have the actual time to invest in ‘how’ they are? Or have we all signed on to the social contract that all greetings will last less than 5 seconds and it is completely appropriate to be walking away as the polite responses are completed over our shoulders. Are you polite AND sincere OR sincere? Are you as honest as you think you are?
Why do you think that is? What would it be like if we slowed down, talked less, and said more? How would you feel if you could really be absolutely honest? Most people respond that it would be liberating and they would feel free.
…and yet most people aren’t.
Interesting what invisible gilded cages we choose.
First: Think about situations where you may not say the whole truth. Why? Who does it actually serve?
Second: Make time for at least one conversation today. (don’t choose a volatile relationship or a life changing ‘I quit’ conversation on your first go-round) It doesn’t have to be long, just set aside 10 minutes where you are not thinking about what you should be doing instead, multitasking, or planning. Try to listen carefully to the words another person is saying. Try to not be thinking of how you will respond, or how a similar thing happened to you once…just listen. Make eye contact, look for cues in their tone or mannerisms to recognize things that are important to them, and actually be present. Imagine what it might be like to be them in the situation. Not how you personally might deal with it, but just stay with their perspective.
Say few words and when you do only say the truth. How is the experience for you? How do you think it felt for them?