Your closest friends, partners or family – do they know how you really feel?
I feel that as a society, we tell people too often what they want to hear. ‘Oooh, what a nice dress’ or ‘yes I absolutely agree’, or ‘what a nice little dog’ are expressions that spring too rapidly to our lips, hiding our true feelings… especially when the dress is a purple and yellow explosion (I was going to use the word ‘creation’, but the ‘big-bang’ theory still seems to be quite popular!), or the ‘agreeable’ statement slips from the lips of a creep, or the dog is a rabid shiatsu poodle, with the temperament of a randy pitbull (now that is stretching the word ‘creation’ to the limits!).
It seems that many of us would prefer to discuss the political situation in foreign countries or the social foibles of celebrities we have never met rather than our personal existential angst.
What would happen if we told people exactly what we thought? Would we be branded disagreeable, or otherwise – perhaps truthful, perceptive and more interesting? Would we be considered boring if we were more lucid about our lives? Would we lose our jobs, our partners and our friends – or would the opposite occur?
I believe the world would be more colourful and our lives could be better.
We automatically assume that our internal monologues are boring, or offensive… yet people I know, who are not afraid to tell people how it is, are often highly valued at dinner parties or by friends in need of advice. I would much rather spend a day with someone prepared to be honest, straight and true than someone who tells me exactly what I want to hear.
With this in mind over the past few years, I have tried to appease less and speak my mind more.
It has not always worked. Sometimes my thoughts are poorly timed and badly placed. Eloquence (and diplomacy) has often escaped me just when it is most needed. I have yet to be slapped, but I have certainly been ignored and spurned.
Yet even then, it still feels good.
My life has certainly felt more realistic. I have made closer friends, despite my fears that the opposite might occur. Conversations have become richer. Problems have been shared. Beautiful moments have been made brighter.
Like many of my ‘Simpletom’ experiments, there is little rocket science to these changes. Instead, just a subtle shift of consciousness. There is so much more that can be done and I could become so much better, even at this simple task.
But it is rewarding to be aware, even if that results in (oh so) subtle changes, so I shall continue with more of the same.
So, whether you are in a business meeting, at home, giving a speech, or chatting in the pub, here is the approach that has worked for me:
If you find yourself about to say something that is simply not true, or might contradict your true feelings – hold back – rather say nothing instead (unless you are giving a speech, of course…) For the rest, you will notice that the less you contradict your true feelings, the better you will feel.
Try starting sentences with ‘I disagree’ and wait for the reaction. If you find yourself among people who hate to be contradicted, refrain but determine whether they are people you want to spend time with. If you find your thoughts appreciated, you are on track to the truth.
Analyze your feelings when you do find yourself having to toe the line. How does it make you feel? Are you able to be as convincing, or as interesting? Does it make you feel good? Is it necessary?
Try some of your more controversial theories. They are often not as much a depth charge to the conversation as you might imagine. If you find yourself in boring company, say something a little fruity. You will often find people lighten up and the boring becomes interesting if you can break the politeness and get to the meat of conversation.
Truth is God – Gandhi