"Speaking Your Mind" Doesn't Mean Being Rude: How to Be Authentic Without Being Offensive
We all want to be authentic, don't we? We want people to know the "real" us, warts and all. But being authentic doesn't mean you can say whatever you want without considering how it might affect other people. There is a big difference between speaking your mind and being rude. Read on to learn about how to be authentic without being an a-hole.
Definition of Authentic:
"True to one's own personality, spirit, or character"
Authenticity is something that means different things to different people. For some, it might mean living their lives according to their own set of principles. For others, it might mean being real and genuine in their interactions with other people. Most people want to be authentic, but they don't know how.
To truly live authentically you must be true to yourself, even when it's uncomfortable, which requires you to have clear boundaries. But boundaries cannot be created until you understand what is and isn't important to you. Once you know what's important to you, you can begin to set boundaries and create a life that aligns with your values.
The problem is that most people do not really know what their values are. To find your values, it requires you to take time, pause, and listen to your inner voice. To reach down into your heart and listen to the voice that is screaming to be heard, not listening to the "logical" mind.
What values is the voice in your heart in alignment with?
This will be different for everyone and it's important to remember that you don't have to share your values with everyone, and you don't have to justify them to anyone. You simply need to know what they are and be true to them.
Take some time to think about what life looks like, what you behave like, and how you respond when you are living in alignment with your values. For example, if you value connection but you are quick to point out the flaws in others, are you living in the value of connection then? No, that is not living in the value of connection.
When you value connection, it would mean that you pause and identify a way to connect to the person before you speak. Identifying your intention behind your words first, instead of unloading your thoughts on the other person... instead of speaking your mind.
Of course, connection may not be one of your higher values and that's perfectly fine. But once you take the time to identify your values, whatever they may be, then the next step is to think about the boundaries that are required to live in those values.
Boundaries are not necessarily hard Yeses and hard Nos (although there is a time and a place for those). Boundaries are made with love. Love for yourself, and love for others. Boundaries require you to look inside yourself and feel what you need, not think about what you need. Boundaries require that you step outside yourself to see what is the most compassionate and understanding for all parties involved. Unless of course your heart is telling you that you want to live isolated and alone, but I highly doubt that considering that you are a human which means you are designed to be in community.
Your entire nervous system is built upon living in community and being around others. Which means, that your words and actions impact those around you as much as those around you impact you.
So the next time you have the urge to speak your mind, take a moment to notice whether the words that your mind wants to speak are aligned with the voice in your heart. Are those words aligned with speaking in a way that intentionally or unintentionally hurts other people's feelings all in the name of being true to yourself? Or can you stop and notice the situation? Find words that maintain your boundaries and standards while creating an authentic and compassionate connection with the recipient of your words.
If you are a healer, coach, or another profession where people are coming to you and are in a vulnerable state, it is imperative that you hold yourself back from speaking your mind from a reactionary state. You are creating the container for others to transform. You are given the gift of helping to create safety for others to speak their mind, to release their thoughts, and to ultimately take action that gets them closer to their goals.