As I stood looking around the room of 80+ people and listening to the stories of "tell us something positive that has happened to you since Choices and what tools you used" I was struck by the beauty of the human spirit -- we are amazing human beings!
One of the aspects I find incredibly powerful at Choices is the love that is in the room. It is a tangible net that catches even the weakest link and holds them strong.
In Givers 1 we talk about the 6 points of power:
- Pay Attention
- Speak the Truth
- Be Responsible for YOUR Life (be accountable)
- Ask for what you want
- Keep YOUR Agreements
- Create Value in ALL things
Years ago I used to keep a sign above my desk that read: My responsibility is to Turn Up, Pay Attention, Speak My Truth, and Stay Unattached To The Outcome.
Speaking Truth can be challenging. For me, the fear of rejection, my fear that someone wouldn't like me, or would be angry with what I had to say kept me from speaking up and standing comfortably with my boundaries intact. Because my boundaries used to be so weak, I continually compromised on my truth and subsequently, lived someone else's truth. In that process, I became more fearful, not less.
For me, speaking my truth is about lovingly standing my ground without fear of the other person's reactions. I am not responsible for how people respond. I trust myself to be responsible for and with my words. I trust others to be responsible as well. My trust is not based on their actions, but on my ability to discern how their words and actions affect me. When I respond negatively to someone, it is not a reflection of them. It is something in me that is creating that response. My responsibility is to honour what it is in me by taking appropriate action. It is my responsibility to be true to my values, principles and beliefs.
It is also my responsibility to treat everyone with respect. It does not mean I have to respect them -- how I treat them is a reflection of me. How they act is a reflection of them. What I think of them is my business -- just as what they think of me is theirs. Sometimes we lovingly share our thoughts of each other. Sometimes, it's best I simply stay quiet and let my boundaries keep me safe from assuming their behaviour is a reflection of me -- or that their behaviour gives me the right to act like them. In those moments, my truth will give me the strength to not accept the unacceptable.
When I speak my truth, I do not have the right to hurt nor harm someone else. My truth is not a stick with which I bludgeon others. My truth is not a knife with which to spear someone else's heart in order to open them up to me.
My truth is a reflection of me. How I speak it is a reflection of who I am, my values, principles and beliefs.
When I am angry, my truth reflects my emotion, not my being. I have the right to my anger, I never have the right to be cruel.
A couple of years ago I worked for an individual who was extremely abusive. He was a psychiatrist. He believed that it was okay to berate staff in front of patients, peers and staff. He believed the best way to motivate people was to walk into a room, tell the staff they were idiots, threaten to close the clinic down, etc.
I didn't believe the same things.
As the GM of the clinic, I worked hard to keep staff from feeling the brunt of this man's abusive behaviour. I also worked with the individual on appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. I brought in a facilitator to work with the team on communication. I organized a two day retreat with the core team and the psychiatrist to facilitate healing and communication. At the retreat, the psychiatrist committed to stop yelling, cursing and belitttling staff. In that session I clearly stated my boundary -- abusive behaviour is not acceptable. I committed to staying on board as GM -- with a three month caveat -- if the behaviour continued, I would resign.
One day, shortly after the retreat, the principle started shouting and swearing at the staff in a meeting. I stood up and said, I do not accept this behaviour and I left.
In that instance of speaking my truth I was responsible for my actions and words. My truth was, I do not accept abusive behaviour. I could not change the man. I could change my position in the organization.
Inside me there was a voice that wanted to scream at this individual and rant and rave and really tear a strip off of him in front of his staff. While the momentary relief of doing that might have made me feel good, the truth is -- that behaviour would have compromised my values, principles and beliefs.
I value courteous behaviour. I value common decency. I value respect.
I stand true to myself when I step lightly through each moment with dignity, grace and respect. When the footprints I leave are filled with love and do not become potholes for others to fall into.
I believe I am responsible for every thought, word I speak, action I take. I believe I am responsible for my own happiness. And I trust others to be responsible for theirs. I believe the world is a place of infinite possibility and beauty. I believe it is up to me to create it in my own life and to lovingly share my light so that the world around me is illuminated with love that will inspire others to step joyfully through their days -- regardless of the weather.
My truth is founded on my values, principles and beliefs. When I stand comfortably in my truth, I am standing in love. In love, I do not hurt others. I do not retaliate unkindly. I lovingly state what is true for me, and do not fear that I am not enough.
I am enough. Just the way I am.
We all are.