When I think about the people I admire most, I realize they are straight talkers. When they speak, they speak their truth. They speak it whether or not the listener wants to hear it. They speak it for one basic reason: it is their truth. I say 'their' truth because they can be mistaken - but it is the truth they believe.
Not everyone in my life is a straight talker but I believe I know who is and who is not.
I love some people I believe are not straight talkers, but I no longer allow them to deceive me. I used to when I was a Pollyanna. Don't we all want to believe that people we love are being straight with us?
So how do we know when someone is 'blowing smoke' or telling it like it is? If we are brave enough to face truth, we can listen to our gut. My experience is that my gut screams at me when I confront urgency. I haven't always listened and I suffered the consequences. I have since learned, am still learning, at an accelerating pace, to pay attention.
When we can listen to another's truth and believe that person believes what they speak, we can still examine any premise ourselves, even come to a different conclusion. We can have peace with a difference of opinion and remain convinced of a person's honesty.
When we listen to another speak what we are certain is not truth, we must give up belief either in that person's honesty or belief in ourselves. The temptation to accept what is not real is damaging to our mental, spiritual and physical health. If we want to believe someone else's lies, we pay the price. And so do they.
When we listen to another speak
what we are certain is not truth, we
must give up either belief in that person's
honesty or belief in ourselves. The temptation
to accept what is not real is damaging to our
mental, spiritual and physical health. If we
want to believe someone else's lies,
we pay the price. And so do they.
I have struggled with this all my life, wanting to believe what others say, beyond any point of doubt. I find it is what I hope others will do for me and have experienced what it means when others know who I am and believe I am speaking my truth, even when they want to believe I am mistaken. Even when they know I want to believe I am mistaken.
When we love someone, we will believe them if we know them to have integrity and value for truth. But if we do not know that, perhaps even have ample evidence to the contrary, we trade our own well being if we do not face reality.
There is a lot about myself that I want to change, am changing. I congratulate myself that I can see what I need to change. It isn't easy. It isn't easy for anyone. If we are not honest with ourselves, it is the first thing we need to change. If we are not honest with others, we are lost souls. Everything comes out in the wash eventually.
I can say also that I am grateful for the people who believe in me. I had an incident last year that was as difficult for me as any I have experienced. As much as it took away from me, it gave back to me in another way. I now know who knows me and believes in me and who does not. It was a great gift.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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