“Speak the truth pleasantly, never speak a pleasant untruth” - Sri Santananda Sarasvati
I’ve been an avid student of the School of Practical Philosophy for over three years now and the quote above is one that has stayed with me during this time and one I practice on a daily basis.
In a world where we are connected more than ever with technology we are so disconnected from our roles of being human.
The quote holds such power and meaning for me because I see consistently how people avoid having the necessary conversations.
Communication with other humans has never been poorer, we are starved of good communication - yet we are richer than we’ve even been with the means we have to communicate.
I see a lack of kindness in the way many people communicate, although it’s often done with the illusion of kindness with many believing it’s the best way - but the truth is, it’s not.
It’s not kind when…..
You speak a pleasant untruth - say what you think someone wants to hear rather than what is true
You don’t give feedback to a friend if what they are doing hurts you and instead you cut off the friendship without exploring opportunities for them to understand and grow
You avoid someone rather than have a conversation that is difficult
You’re managing someone and you don’t give them consistent constructive feedback around their performance because the conversation is a bit uncomfortable
You withdraw from relationships without explaining why or offering the other person the opportunity to learn what you are experiencing
You don’t set your boundaries with others and then blame them for the impact that it’s having in your world
You decide not to get involved in a family or friendship disagreement even when you believe both parties may have misunderstood something and you can see its resolvable
You ghost someone (disappearing act)
You take more than you give
You don’t respond to a friend and acknowledge their message in a reasonable time even if just to say you are busy
Someone smiles and you don’t return it
You can help someone but you choose not to
You see others are hurting and you don’t lean in and offer support
You need help and support from others and you are not able to articulate those needs so you say nothing and your resentment builds
I could go on and on with this list as they are so many ways that we are not being kind. Not to ourselves or others. Relationships appear to be more and more disposable, whether it’s with our work colleagues, partners, friends or family.
We need to be aware of our actions both in passive or aggressive forms of unkindness. It’s a slippery slope when you tell yourself it’s for the best that you don’t speak the truth. We need better communication amongst us humans and discomfort is necessary for growth. Can we stop these avoidant ways? It doesn’t serve us or the future generations if we can’t demonstrate maturity in adult conversations and lean in to seek to understand each other and our differences.
As Maya Angelou once said “When You Know Better, You Do Better”
So what’s it going to take for you to know better and do better to be kind?
Speak the truth pleasantly, never speak a pleasant untruth.