Lack of effective communication has been the biggest reason for strained relationships at home, work, and everywhere. Being Open, Honest, and Direct builds trust.
So, what is being Open, Honest, and Direct?
It is straightforward dialogue without lying, blaming, whining, avoidance and sarcasm. It is calling “Ace an Ace and Spade a Spade”. Is it easy to be Open, Honest, and Direct? Both “Yes and “No” are the right answers. For the people with strong values, it is easy and for the people who do not value the Values it is not easy… but WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO BE OPEN HONEST AND DIRECT.
A high level of Self-respect, Courage, Character and inner wisdom is needed to be Open, Honest, and Direct. Open, Honest, and Direct culture is a morale builder, wherein people around feel free to approach and speak, without any fear whatsoever of repercussions. When you are open you stay true to yourself.
Some time back I read a beautiful story on being Open, Honest, and Direct and the story goes something like this:
A big company in London has arranged an elegant welcome reception party for the newly promoted Director of Marketing.
Some of the wives of the other directors, who wanted to get acquainted with the new spouse of the Director, asked her with some hesitation,” ARE YOU HAPPY?”.
The husband, who at the moment was not at her side, but was sufficiently near to hear the question, paid attention to the conversation, sitting up slightly, feeling secure, even filling his chest lightly in pride, knowing that his spouse would answer affirmatively since she had always been there for him during their marriage.
Nevertheless, to both his and the others’ surprise, she replied simply
“No, no he doesn’t make me happy…
The room became uncomfortably silent as if everyone were listening to the spouse’s response.
The husband was petrified. He couldn’t believe what his wife was saying, especially on such an important occasion for him.
To the amazement of her husband and everyone, she simply placed enigmatically on her head an elegant black silk scarf and continued:
“No, he doesn’t make me happy …but I AM HAPPY.”
The fact that I am happy or not, doesn’t depend on him, but on me. “I am the only person upon which my happiness depends. I make the choice to be happy in each situation and in each moment of my life. If my happiness were to depend on other people, on other things or circumstances on the face of this earth, I would be in serious trouble!
“Everything that exists in this life changes continually: humans, wealth, my body, the climate, pleasures, etc. I could enumerate an infinite list… “Over my life, I have learned a couple of things:
I decide to be happy and the rest is a matter of “experiences or circumstances;” like helping, and understanding, accepting, listening, consoling; and with my spouse, I have lived and practiced this many times…. Happiness will always be found in forgiveness and in loving yourself and others.
It’s not the responsibility of my spouse to make me happy… He also has his “experiences or circumstances.” I love him and he loves me, often in spite of his circumstances and of mine.
The husband became very emotional and looked at her with pride and gratitude. All others in the room learned a life lesson…
The above story reiterates the power of being Open, Honest, and Direct. This power gave her clarity about purpose and life.
One has to recognise their own feelings. Remember, your feelings are your feelings, right or wrong. Your feelings are based on your thoughts and suppressing or hiding your feelings will only result in stress, complexity, and insomnia.
Being Open, Honest, and Direct is also admitting when you are wrong, expressing gratitude, and not caring for what people want to hear. Being Open, Honest, and Direct does not mean you reveal everything to everyone. Whatever you say, you will remain open and honest. Only when you are Open, Honest, and Direct you will give a direction to your thoughts finally leading to contentment.
The key to Open, Honest, and Direct communication is to remain true to your values, take ownership of your feelings, speak your mind, and be willing to learn from the conversations. Like Thomas Dewar said,” Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.”