Photo Credit: Kai Oberhäuser, Unsplash.com
I didn’t like my Broncos t-shirt. It didn’t have anything to do with their performance this season, rather, it didn’t fit well and was too stiff. So I went to Khol’s to get a new shirt.
At the checkout, the cashier asked us (as they always do) to open a credit card with them. My wife gave a clear, “No.” The cashier disregarded her response and started talking about some of the perks with the card. Again, my wife said clearly, “No. I don’t want one.”
As we walked out to the parking lot, she said, “When I talk to my clients…” she’s a Health Coach by the way, “…I want them to be just as transparent with me as I was with the cashier. It’s something that I’ve been working on. I don’t want to give people a fuzzy answer when I know exactly what my answer is.”
I was inspired by her conscious practice of speaking clearly and truthfully. She didn’t take it personally that someone was trying to sell us on a credit card — she simply knew that her answer was NO.
We waste energy by speaking through tempered filters.
Sometimes, we temper our words in the spirit of politeness or not hurting someone’s feelings. We may not say anything at all for the same fear, which I’ve done countless times. But this is a waste of energy.
Let’s dive into this behavior more.
When we filter our words before we say them so that they’re “right,” what are we doing? We’re taking our original thoughts and mushing them around so that our listener has the possibility of a positive perception of you. But this reasoning falls apart in a few ways:
First, you have ZERO control over how others perceive you. Their perceptions belong to them and you have no responsibility for that energy (just as no one’s responsible for YOUR perceptions).
Second, filtering your words serves a fear within you. It does NOT serve you as a person, the person you’re talking to, or the relationship between you and who you’re interacting with.
Third, let’s say that you speak authentically and the person you’re speaking with judges you as rude, direct, inconsiderate, etc… What happens? Nothing, really. If someone judges you for what you say, that energy belongs to that person! If you fear how others may possibly perceive you, whether they perceive you that way or not, that fear energy stays with YOU, not them.
So, does this mean that you have permission to say whatever you want to whoever you want?
First, you don’t need my permission for anything because you’re an empowered badass, but that’s not what I’m saying. When you speak your truth, authentically, clearly, and from the heart, you’ll be communicating from an inspiring place. Your unique, authentic self yearns to be expressed. That’s why it can be so overwhelming and stressful to carefully process your words through your fear filters. That takes a lot of energy!
As my own, conscious practice around authentic communication has grown, I’ve noticed a few changes:
1. I have complete faith that I’ll have the best answer, question, or thought when my opportunity to speak arrives. This faith comes from a trust in myself and a desire to have an authentic and deep connection with the people I’m talking to.
2. When I come from a place of trust in myself, I’m free to let go of those thoughts that pop up while someone else is speaking. I use my energy, instead, to actively listen and get all the information I can to fuel my authentic (and timely) words.
Let’s go above and below these Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions:
Going Below the T.E.A. : Filtered Communication
- Thought: Other’s perceptions of me is MY responsibility
- Emotion: Fear
- Action: Process my thoughts, questions, concerns, hopes before responding and, often, while the other person’s still speaking.
Going Above the T.E.A. : Authentic Communication
- Thought: I speak spontaneously, from the heart, with love. I have faith that what I say best serves this conversation at this time.
- Emotions: Joy and compassion
- Action: Active listening and deeper connection with others.
“When you hold yourself back and censor yourself to cater to the perceptions of others, you contribute to something smaller than you.
When you step into your authenticity and express your TRUE self, you contribute to something much larger than you.”