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Brutally honest: how about we try being sincere with compassion?

alignment, anger, be authentic, being nice, bitterness, brutal honesty, brutally honest, choices, compassion, connection, courage, cryptic, emotions, expectations, fear, feelings, frustration, gut, head, heart, humility, insincerity, intj, kindness, know thyself, know your purpose, loving kindness, passive-aggressive, personal boundaries, power of authenticity, practice awareness, practice loving-kindness, read the room, resentment, self-worth, silence is violence, sincere with compassion, strong, validation, values, vulnerable, wisdom

Professional and personal communication is one of my biggest challenges. As an INTJ, I can be brutally honest, speaking my mind without sensing the effect my words and tone have on others.  I just blurt out what I want to communicate without considering whether it’s the right time or place to do so.

I’ve found I have better skills when I write it all out in an email or written correspondence. But this misses many nuances and can be misunderstood.

At the other end of the spectrum, I clam up when the emotional environment hits like a battering ram.

The challenge I face is paying attention to the human element of interaction, rather than giving greater value to facts, figures and problem-solving. People are not just another problem to be solved.

the unpleasant truth, brutal honesty, frankness, clear, accurate, unpleasant
Brutally honest: if someone expresses something unpleasant with brutal honesty or frankness, they express it clearly and accurately without disguising its unpleasantness.

I appreciate someone how openly speaks their mind. But saying things “as they are” – with little regard for people’s feelings – is a sure way to alienate others. Worse yet, being brutally honest is used as an excuse to be blunt, rude, cruel and callous.  Of course, on the other side of this pendulum is silence and withholding all opinions.

Brutally honest: I don’t need your validation

One of my strengths – and inevitably, it shows up as a weakness – is that I’m perfectly content living life by my own rules. Many INTJs feel that they don’t require validation from others. As a young adult, I really didn’t care what others thought of me. I questioned traditions and norms, without taking into account who might have invested in those procedures or rules.

Unfortunately, I  also ignored the rules of social interaction. I alienated others because I didn’t care what they thought of me. I was happy to be independent, taking care of myself.

Until I discovered letting my heart lead, I swung between “I need no one” and being an absolute people-pleaser, wanting to be accepted!

Being polite: acceptable hypocrisy

As a result of my preference for speaking what’s on my mind, I struggle in social settings with the acceptable hypocrisy of politeness. It is, without a doubt, the worst definition of “being nice”.

Jenny O'Connell, brutally honest, people-pleasing, authenticity, authentic self, living authentically
Hiding how you feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice; it just makes you a liar.

I can’t stand social pleasantries, small talk, especially beating around the bush and sugar-coating something important.

I can see the elephant in the room and I’d like to talk about how we could remove it.

Problem-solving is easy. Listening to someone else’s feelings and story, on the other hand, can be exhausting. Just give me the facts. Ask me for advice and an honest and objective opinion. I promise I won’t mince words.

The challenge is that feelings, pride, and self-worth often conflict with the facts and figures, and expediency says “just ignore people’s feelings”. Except I can’t.

Brutal honesty: sometimes it’s just brutal and not entirely honest

I can recognise the times professionally that I wanted to prove “I am right and that’s why I’m the star”. Those were moments where I held no regard or respect for the person that I was speaking to. I wantonly humiliated and hurt others, only to regret it later.

Richard J. Needham, alignment, anger, be authentic, being nice, bitterness, brutal honesty, brutally honest, choices, compassion, connection, courage, cryptic, emotions, expectations, fear, feelings, frustration, gut, head, heart, humility, insincerity, kindness, know thyself, know your purpose, loving kindness, passive-aggressive, personal boundaries, power of authenticity, practice awareness, practice loving-kindness, read the room, resentment, self-worth, silence is violence, sincere with compassion, strong, values, vulnerable, wisdom
Brutally honest people get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty.

There is a place, in speaking honestly, for asking yourself:

  • Am I mean-spirited?
  • Do I feel better than others by speaking and acting this way?
  • Am I enjoying lording over others?
  • Does this make me feel powerful or full of pride and arrogance?

People use “the truth” to hurt and damage another. To knock them down. We use “the truth” to manipulate, to get the desired outcome by using the facts to our advantage. And of course, as I mentioned, you show the world “I’m right, I’m better”.

William Blake, telling the truth, authenticity, intentions, relationships, criticism
A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.

You don’t have to be cruel to be kind.

Honesty does not require that you be harsh, rude or shocking.

It’s not always necessary to shake them or leave them shell-shocked so that they listen to you.

While the upside to being hurtful, harsh and cruel is that you made a point:
was that really the point you wanted to make?

Arthur Dobrin, alignment, anger, be authentic, being nice, bitterness, brutal honesty, brutally honest, choices, compassion, connection, courage, cryptic, emotions, expectations, fear, feelings, frustration, gut, head, heart, humility, insincerity, kindness, know thyself, know your purpose, loving kindness, passive-aggressive, personal boundaries, power of authenticity, practice awareness, practice loving-kindness, read the room, resentment, self-worth, silence is violence, sincere with compassion, strong, values, vulnerable, wisdom
There is always a way to be honest without being brutal.

Change: I can be sincere rather than brutally honest

Facts, figures and knowledge are important, but so are relationships. The honesty that I so highly value can show up as sincerity with compassion.

Authenticity: Being true to yourself is more than just facts, figures and the need to be right. It requires more effort than rattling off what I know!

#1 – Know thyself

It doesn’t matter whether you read “Crucial Conversations“, “Non-Violent Communication“, or even Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People“. Every conversation and interaction with others begins within.
We interact with others through our perceptions.
The more awareness we bring to where we are at, the better we communicate with others.
Notice how resentment, bitterness, anger and frustration build up within when you fail to speak up for yourself. Even if you are trying to be “nice” and “not rock the boat”. Don’t swallow the feelings.
Take note of the times you have been cruel, brutal, or callous to make your point, to feel better about yourself, or to “be right”.
Before you speak:
  • What is driving and motivating you at this moment?
  • What are your intentions and their underlying emotions?
  • Are there past resentments in this relationship that taint the meaning you are giving to this interaction?
  • Consider even your sense of safety and security: do you feel threatened in any way?
James E. Faust, brutally honest, living honestly, authenticity, living authentically, truth telling, honesty, truth speaking, truth living, truth loving
Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth-telling, truth speaking, truth living and truth-loving.

#2 – Know your purpose

Wielding honesty as a weapon can break relationships and make you “the bad guy”, especially if you use honesty to put others down.

Before you speak, clarify for yourself:

  • What is the actual issue to be addressed? I would suggest looking at three potentials to consider:
    • Project/Situation – is this something specific that is a problem?
    • People – is the real issue relating to relationships and interactions?
    • Patterns – is there a pattern of behaviour that needs to be addressed?
  • Do I need my personal/professional boundaries to be acknowledged?  If you are being hurt (emotionally, mentally, or even in a situation professionally that could adversely affect you in the short or long term), perhaps the purpose of the conversation is to establish a boundary.
  • Am I just looking for the ego trip of making a point and showing how much I know? So, you’re brilliant. If you feel that this is not being acknowledged – is this the right way to showcase yourself? What might be a more intelligent way of doing this?

#3 – Read the Room

There is a right time and place for difficult conversations. Sometimes, there are even the right people to have a conversation with. Before you dive in, consider whether you are in the right room:

  • Is this the right person to speak to?
  • When is the best time for this conversation?
  • Where is the most appropriate place to speak about this matter?

We’ve all had moments when we have said the right thing to the wrong person, or to the right person at the wrong time!

When something is weighing on your mind, it’s easy to want to offload it. But the purpose and mission are not to offload it as quickly as possible!

If you want to be effective in change, make sure you are speaking to the right person, and as much as possible, pick the right time and place to have this conversation.

#4 – Practice loving-kindness

I don’t “play nice”. But I do believe in being kind. It’s not a game. And I strive to balance loving-kindness for myself with being kind to others.

I see compassion and loving-kindness like the breath I take. To exhale compassion for others, first, you have to inhale for yourself! Healthy boundaries and respect lead to healthy relationships. And the hardest conversations, at times, are about those boundaries and personal respect. Without this, there is resentment, anger and frustration. And that can show up later in passive-aggressive behaviour.

When you speak up with kindness, you address the issue. You don’t attack the person.

Most importantly, with kindness, you have difficult conversations that you might otherwise wish to avoid.

Susan Scott, brutally honest, alignment, anger, be authentic, being nice, bitterness, brutal honesty, brutally honest, choices, compassion, connection, courage, cryptic, emotions, expectations, fear, feelings, frustration, gut, head, heart, humility, insincerity, kindness, know thyself, know your purpose, loving kindness, passive-aggressive, personal boundaries, power of authenticity, practice awareness, practice loving-kindness, read the room, resentment, self-worth, silence is violence, sincere with compassion, strong, values, vulnerable, wisdom
Never be afraid of the conversations you’re having. Be afraid of the conversations you’re not having.

#5 – Be authentic because insincerity shows through

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you think they are lying to you, but it turns out that what they were telling you was actually the truth?
You read body language (micro-messaging) all the time. And even if the words spoken are true, if the person speaking is being insincere (in any way), your body and subconscious pick up on this. It affects the message and how it is received.
One hundred per cent of the time, irrespective of who is talking, we are reading all the signals. Do their words match their body language?
I failed a lie detector test
Way back when, everyone in the company I worked at had to do a lie detector test.
I failed on one critical question: “are you doing drugs?”
I wasn’t, and I answered honestly.
But the machine said, “lie detected”.
Why? Because my conscience was bothering.
After finishing up University, I had tried smoking weed with friends and lied to my parents about it! My conscience hit me up on a lie detector test years later about that lie!
Thankfully, the head of security running the test knew me well enough to know I didn’t do drugs, took me outside, asked me to explain the situation, and then redid the test. After I admitted to the lie I’d told my parents – and we both got a good laugh – I went back in and redid the test and passed without any problems.
Are you aligned with what you are saying?

#6 – Silence is also violence; if you’re not honest

Silence can be toxic when you’re trying to “be nice” and keep the peace. Unfortunately, keeping silent withholds information. It might be withholding vulnerability about your feelings because you no longer feel safe. Or it might be that you don’t care anymore, and so stop participating in the conversation.

This silence can be part of the very problem:

  • cryptic conversation – you know there’s a problem, but they haven’t told you what the problem is, so you jump to conclusions;
  • passive-aggressive behaviour and interactions;
  • ghosting, rather than speaking up and working on the relationship.

While it’s okay to restrict your vulnerability to a small group of people where it is safe to open up, if safety is regularly an issue, it might be time to rethink your inner circle. Clarify the difference for yourself between friends and acquaintances, and don’t be afraid to differentiate that for yourself.  Just because someone else has you as their confidant doesn’t mean that you have to reciprocate.

Consider the impact of your silence and how sincerity with compassion might make a difference. How could you speak up?

#7 – Humility in the face of speaking from anger and pain

We all screw up.

We’ve said things when responding in anger or pain that we later regret. There are triggers and blind spots that we failed to catch in time. Perhaps you were holding off on a conversation until the right place and time and got triggered and spoke out of turn.

Acknowledge it, first to yourself. Then to others, when appropriate.

While you think it might make you look bad or weak to acknowledge you spoke out of place, it takes great strength and courage to admit when you were brutally honest rather than sincere.

Brutally honest conclusions

I still value honesty and want people around me that are not afraid to speak their minds or call me out. But now, I value those who can do so with kindness and compassion.

I want to have difficult conversations: because that’s where the transformation and change happens. It is where the opportunity lies.

In my life, I want people who sincerely, with compassion, can point out my flaws and give me the opportunity for change. 

introductory call, Beth Gray, coach, coaching packages, phone call, Zoom, Skype, online, purpose, expectations, value, fit

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Inner Conflict: resolving with mBraining

inner conflict, internal conflict, conflicted, head, heart, gut, mbraining, decision, decision-making, cognitive dissonance, feelings, should, thoughts, gut instinct, rational thinking, emotions

Inner conflict shows up in so many ways, shapes and forms. Some say that the more mental beliefs, ideals, expectations, and desires we have, the more likely we are to suffer from internal conflict.

Sometimes, it is a mental conflict, such as a cognitive dissonance — inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.

Other times, it feels worse: caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, this is what I “should” do, but this is what I want to do.  Or perhaps, you even want both things, they just seem to be diametrically opposed to each other. Confused about the options and choices you are faced with, you wonder how to resolve the conundrum. Continue reading Inner Conflict: resolving with mBraining

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Heart-led goal setting: self compassion

heart-led goal setting, compassion, love, connection, wants, desires, feelings, emotions, self-care, self-love, love of self, love of others, creativity, thoughts, analysis, rational, critical, analytical, courageous, motivated, motivation, movement

And suddenly, in a flash, 2018 is ending & 2019 is upon us. I spent the first 15 days of December on Facebook talking about how to take your heart’s desires & convert them into heart-led goals. And the reason that I took 15 days to talk about this – not one hour – is that I think the topic is simply profound.  Yes, it’s profoundly simple. But it’s simply profound.  I don’t believe we are served by being ruled by our emotions.

However, if you want to live without regrets, then you need to live the best version of yourself.

NOW.

You can’t live a lie. You have to follow your heart.
– Paul Weller

Continue reading Heart-led goal setting: self compassion

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What’s missing? mBraining Integration

What's missing? mBraining integration, lead from the heart, create options & solutions, listen to your needs & instinct

I started off last week thinking about “what’s missing in my life?” – in the sense of what’s missing when I feel unmotivated? When I am “stuck” and failing to move forward – what have I overlooked?

Or what might be missing if I feel unable to make a “good” choice?  When I am not taking care of my well-being – why do I forget to put on my oxygen mask first?  Or when I am struggling with gratitude, what do I need to do?

How can I do a better job at following through?

Continue reading What’s missing? mBraining Integration

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Values & priorities: why identify them?

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Yesterday I supervised a coaching session where the trainee coach was working with a “client” to identify their values. And I realised that for myself, it was really important to re-examine this area of my life, which I took time doing this afternoon!  I recognised that as life changes, so had my priorities!!

I wanted to share two things with you:

  1. The purpose of core values elicitation.  Why do coaches spend time eliciting their clients’ values?  What’s the purpose and “value” in doing this?
  2. My core values and how I define them: what do they mean to me?

The purpose of this exercise:

Continue reading Values & priorities: why identify them?