Nov
21
 

Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean

Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean
“Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.”
~Gandhi

When I saw this quote on a card in a store, it resonated with me. It encapsulates how I try to live my life, or at least how I hope I try to live my life. It echoes the truth I have seen in the lives of my clients.

When I follow all of Gandhi’s three suggestions – when I share my truth and I share it gently…and I fearlessly say what I feel needs to be said – I am at my best. Sometimes the conversations go extremely well and sometimes what I have to say is difficult for others to hear and things still backfire, but at least I have done what I can to, as I heard many years ago, “say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.” My clients tell me that the same happens with them. I coach and guide them to follow Gandhi’s suggestions, and they may willingly, or at times reluctantly, do so…and then they tell me of the cleanness they feel that they’ve done their best. That they’ve shared their truth. And that they’ve been gentle and kind in the process.

But this quote needs to be taken one step further, IMHO. It’s not enough that we truthfully, gently, and fearlessly share what we have to say. In order to truly help a conversation, and a relationship, go deeper and better, we also have to be willing to truthfully, gently, and fearlessly listen to the other person. To show up for what’s important to them. To be fearlessly willing to consider the fact that our own truth, our own opinions, and our own needs might not be the most critical. Or the most true. My clients share with me that, at times, this is the most amazing discovery in their process – that that which they knew to be absolutely true was not just not true for others…but not completely true overall.

I will always coach others to live truthfully, gently, and fearlessly. And I will always try, or at least try to try, to live truthfully, gently, and fearlessly myself. To see what is, to be gentle with myself and others, and to acknowledge my fear and let it guide me yet not hold me back. To be at my best.

Where could you be more truthful? More gentle? More fearless? With yourself? With others?

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.

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