Can We Be Kind & Authentic? Make sure your’e coming from your sage

 In Communication, Relationships

“I feel it’s important to say what’s on my mind.”

“I want to be authentic and share how I really feel.”

“Transparency is key in a relationship.”

Have you ever heard one of these phrases or some variation? Authenticity and transparency have become popular buzzwords these days. And for good reason. Many of us agree with other’s ideas in an attempt to appease, fit in, or keep the peace.

But here’s a critical key to being “real” with the people around us. We need to check in and make sure we’re sharing from our sage and not from our saboteur. 

Our sage finds words and tone that come from empathy, curiosity, and respect. This wisest version of ourselves knows how to offer feedback and opinions in a way that shows that we care and that we have everyone’s best interests at heart.

Our saboteur reacts and uses words and behavior based on frustration, anger, or disappointment. This approach can feel like an attack to the other person and tends to put them on the defensive. We may have voiced our thoughts, but we’ve also triggered their saboteur. Now instead of being open to our feedback, they see us as a threat.

Whether it’s our coworker, partner, or kid, we can pause, notice our instinctive reaction, and then choose a thoughtful but honest response.  If we are emotionally triggered in the situation, we may want to stay silent until we can connect with our sage.

Adam Grant sums it up nicely.

“I’m just being honest” is a poor excuse for being rude. Candor is being forthcoming in what you say. Respect is being considerate in how you say it. Being direct with the content of your feedback doesn’t prevent you from being thoughtful about the best way to deliver it.”

Can you think of a recent interaction where your honesty might have been seen as a little harsh? Were you speaking from your saboteur or your sage? Could you have communicated the same message with more empathy?

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