Friday, 16 June 2017

Honesty and Vulnerability - Give it a go

At what age do we lose the ease of honest and open communication?

To be clear, I am not suggesting we become ‘dis-honest’. What I am suggesting is we develop a need to become protective of ourselves and therefore less inclined to communicate honestly.

We will all have an example of a child who in innocence makes a comment that is hurtful, and is promptly told they should not say this, or say that.

Is this the start of the process of filtration?

Open and honest communication should not be confused with being cruel and hurtful. It perhaps requires thought, consideration and a delivery method that is respectful and invites equal feedback.

Sadly, we hold back and inevitably, this impacts our personal relationships and our work relationships. It impacts our friendships as well.

Chances are, we are more guarded with those we have known the longest and more open with newer friends. Surely it should be the other way around.

Having an honest and respectful conversation takes courage. It takes courage because we are making a commitment to be honest and trusting the other party or parties to be equally honest. It can only be successful if all participants are equally committed and prepared to be vulnerable.

At the risk of repeating myself, this is always underpinned by respect.

Imagine how much better everything in our world would be if we were simply honest, always. If we dropped the persona we feel we need for our protection, our self-preservation. And, I am not suggesting we are dis-honest, just that we could be genuinely honest.

Imagine how fulfilling our personal relationships would be if we practiced this, how we would be bringing our whole selves, openly, respectfully to the relationship in everything we do.

Personally, I took a risk today in a business situation. In a meeting with someone more senior, I committed to honesty and asked him to commit to the same. I set the example and he responded accordingly.

It was an insightful, but in retrospect a not surprising outcome. We understood each other, genuinely and the outcome was spectacularly successful, for both of us.

My challenge is to apply this in all walks of life, always.

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