“What you say is hurtful. How you say it is hurtful. Your tone is not helpful. You don’t deal with things properly. There are ways and means. If you go around hurting people, you won’t get anywhere.”
All of these comments are reflections I have received and sat with, all have been painful to receive and all have stopped me in my tracks. Each and every one I have ultimately valued as feedback which has informed my life and presented me with choices around how I speak, write, present.
That doesn’t mean I’ve always chosen the soft, polite, due process approach though …
There comes a time when polite attempts to talk about injustice run out of time. Martin Luther King bent the knee, as an action was to speak louder than words.
There comes a time when asking nicely runs out of steam. Mary McLeod Bethune faced off the Ku Klux Klan to cast her hard won vote, no asking for her but the time for taking.
There comes a time when standing by runs out of authenticity. Jesus threw over tables and chased sellers out of the temple with an impromptu whip; there was no place for standing by as the temple was desecrated.
There comes a time when just pointing out the problems and hoping someone might take you seriously before it is too late, becomes too late. Those in charge of the processes and holding the power step away from your situation when not interacting with you, but not you. You have to live it. You have to hold the tensions between needs and experiences, expressing and not rocking the boat, being heard and being a troublemaker, building relationships and watching them falter as you find your strength, reclaiming your own agency to see that impacting others … and eventually it implodes
When all you want to do is speak your truth and have it heard, understood, and responded to well.
I know when the truth is spoken to me, it can hurt. I know my truth is hurtful to others. But I also know the only way that hurt can be released is to speak it and resolve it with compassion and kindness, knowing we all just want to do our best in this trickiest of worlds we live in. The only way understanding can be reached is through difficult conversations. The only way change can ever come is through speaking truth.
Peace be with you.