You can’t handle the truth! Have you ever said that or heard someone say it? I think we all have been on one or both sides of this equation. The beauty of transparency should not be underestimated. But directness is often confused with expectations, like it’s someone else’s ‘problem’ when they don’t like someone’s so-called directness.
Directness: I always hear and experience directness from several points of view, which might only mean I'm carzy (mix-up-crazy). Sometimes our ideas and speech need clothing, like our bodies. We may love our bodies, but flashing people is illegal in most situations. The Show Me state wouldn’t even endorse this POV. It's not inauthentic to present truth in balance between our needs and the listener's needs (needs are perception, I might point out).
Here are three lessons that stuck with me through the years, but I’m open to reinterpretation:
I heard an Alumni Speaker at Hazelden many years ago (Mark L., a comedian) state, (1) "Truth without compassion is cruelty." Frankly, it's about the only thing I remember from his speech.
A woman in recovery told me one day, (2) "Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean."
W.H. Auden wrote in his poem, The More Loving One, (3) "If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me."
Now, I'm not writing a book about The Art of Codependency. LOL! Right? Myers Briggs showed me an INFP, so maybe that's just my paradigm. I cringe just a little when I hear someone say, "Well, it's the truth!" after tearing into someone purportedly less evolved than they are.
Personally, I CAN (usually) 'handle the truth,' getting called out publicly on my shortcomings is just part of the deal for someone with my past who is a speaker and writer. The mean comments from detractors helped me more than the loving remarks in terms of growing my speeches. But the warm words showed me I am on the right path.
I love directness. It's 'me' most of the time. It takes practiced patience to consider what someone says beyond my belief. Why reconsider something I have thought over a thousand times before? Well, for the same reason a Virtuoso practices the violin for hours on end after they've already risen to popularity and economic stability. They might 'learn' something. The Creative Virtuoso is never content to sacrifice art for stability which births a stalemated, repetitive product.
Entertaining the possibility under every circumstance that one might be wrong is the key to teachability weighed in the balances against intractability. When listening becomes an intuitive art, the logical mind is free, indeed. It’s commendable to have the courage of one’s convictions, but setting aside everything we think we know enables us to have the courage to question our convictions.
There’s as much truth in a question as there is in an answer. One thing leads to another. The truth might set us free, but oftentimes, it might irritate us first. Work outside of your comfort zone. Stretch your emotional body and spirituality. You don’t even need a box to think outside of.