“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ~ Barbara De Angelis
A friend of mine recently told me how he doesn’t create strong enough boundaries. People take advantage of him and disregard his needs. After listening to him for a while, I realized that the problem wasn’t so much about boundaries, but rather speaking his truth. When I mentioned this to him, a light bulb went off.
When I think about setting boundaries it feels more like a defensive or passive stance than an empowering and proactive step. “How do I set boundaries?”, can mean “How do I stop this person from doing this to me?” There can also be a lack of clarity on exactly what setting boundaries looks like. And we may be more inclined to tell people what we don’t want, instead of saying what we do want.
In speaking our truth we express our needs, and educate others on how we want to be treated.
We refrain from speaking our truth because we fear conflict, and we are not confident in the language skills we have. For most, we have not been taught how to assert our needs.
9 keys to expressing your truth:
- Use first person language
- Tell people how you feel
- Make a clear request
- Ask for what you want (versus don’t want)
- Give examples if necessary
- Ensure they hear and understand you
- Speak in a calm and non-reactive tone
- Speak slowly
- Use as much brevity as possible
For example: “I feel uncomfortable with how you are treating me. I need you to speak with more kindness. What that looks like to me is that you listen when I speak, show respect for my aspirations, and wait until I finish before you speak. Do you understand what I am asking for?”
Can you feel the difference between setting boundaries and speaking your truth?
The 10th key is to share your truth as soon as possible. When you wait, things may fester and resentment can build. You may also not be able to get an accurate assessment of what happened because you are now further removed from situation.
Like with all communication skills, the more you practice the easier it gets. It may never be easy to highlight the discomforting impact that someone is having on you, but your comfort level with the language skills can improve overtime.
Be Courageous. Be Truthful!
Own your Voice. Own your Worth!
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Check out Vince’s book: Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative Spirit of Children, A Children’s Book for Adults