Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is a 1927 prose poem. ("Desiderata" Latin: "desired things")
3. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Truth is complicated. It's personal. I call it one's P.R.I.V.I. It's based on one's passions, roles, interests, values and issues. It also includes one's principles, ethics, perspective and the situation at hand.
When speaking my truth, I've learned to claim it as my truth. Therefore, if it's my truth, why not shout it out to make sure folks are hearing me? If they hear me the first time, there would be no reason to speak it again and no confusion in the future. It's done. Let's move on.
Not so fast. My moment of truth is perpetual. Perpetually shouting that truth can cause hoarseness at its best and becomes as sounding brass at its worst. Not just to others, but to myself as well. So if I can't speak my truth quietly and clearly, maybe I shouldn't speak it at all, understanding that not speaking it doesn't change my truth.
If I'm confident in my truth, it seems I should feel comfortable speaking it quietly and clearly – first to myself – aloud, if necessary – then, to others, if called for.
Looking back, I have to admit that I have been “dull and ignorant,” like last week. As a customer, I was not listened to. In fact, the customer service representative talked over me, that is, I was speaking my truth and she was speaking her truth and neither of us was listening. I think we both considered the other “dull and ignorant.”
Now, maybe I'm old school, but I think as a customer, that “I, too, have my story” and my concerns should be taken seriously.
I was trying to speak my truth quietly and clearly. However, I became indignant and firmly told her that she was talking over me and I didn't like it. Okay, I yelled at her. She graciously apologized.
I finally realized that from my perspective, she seemed limited in her ability to empathize, analyze, and in her desire to go above and beyond. Perhaps she thought I was being unreasonable because I was asking for information that required her to go above and beyond. Our next conversation was cordial, but unfortunately, unproductive and unsatisfying.
My truth had not change; therefore, it was still my responsibility to continue speaking my truth and learning more about myself in the process, and the subject that was the impetus for the call. As far as listening to others, even the dull and ignorant; I can attest that they, too, have their story. This is mine.
Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts?
Dedicated to my sons, Jibri and Chris, my privilege and blessing. EcwmB