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How To Tell The Truth At Work (Part 1 of 3)

Oct 25, 2007
Telling the truth can be risky. It is often difficult to find a balance between telling important truths and protecting the feelings and reputations of everyone involved. Not only that, but honest, well-intentioned people don't always agree about what is true. It may seem easier to keep the truth to yourself than to cause a rift in an important relationship.

Understanding and using these principles will help you feel more confident about the choices you make and help you develop the skills you need to tell the truth with grace and skill.

* Realize that your truth is not "The Truth," and neither is anyone else's.

You are unique. There is no one else in the world who has had exactly the same life experiences as you. Your past experiences have a profound influence upon how you see and understand your world.

Since there is always more data coming at you than you or anyone else could possibly process, your brain screens out everything that it believes is irrelevant to you. Your brain makes those instantaneous decisions based upon what it has previously learned is pleasant or painful. That means that whatever you perceive (your truth) is only a part of what is present.

Anyone who has had a different life than you have had (including your sisters, brothers, significant other, children, parents, co-workers, etc.) chooses somewhat different things to screen out. Therefore, what they perceive as true (their truth) is bound to be different than your truth.

Understanding this basic fact, shows how pointless it is to argue about what is "The Truth." "The Truth" simply does not exist.

* Know what is true for you, including the signals that you are unaware of some aspects of your own truth.

Since you are the only one who knows what you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, it is important to pay attention to that information. You may not understand why something is attractive or repulsive to you, but knowing that you have feelings about it is one way to help you make choices, including the choice to learn more about why you feel the way you do.

When you were a child, others didn't necessarily appreciate or agree with your expressions of what you liked or hated. In the course of becoming civilized, you learned to stop paying attention to your own truths. You then learned to pay attention to what others believed instead, and to invalidate things about you that others did not like.

Many adults cover their own uncomfortable and invalidated truths by doing things to keep their attention away from their own experiences. Mindlessly watching TV, overeating, smoking, overworking, alcohol and drug abuse, are all ways of tuning out this awareness.

Make a habit of using your favorite way of tuning out as a signal to check in with yourself and learn your own truth.
About the Author
Learn more about these principles by reading the stories of ordinary people who are learning about how to tell the truth effectively in The Integrity Course.
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. is a Master Certified Coach and communication expert. Dr. Weiss has spent 35 years helping clients resolve conflict in business and personal relationships. Email feedback@laurieweiss.com
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