Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nothing but the Truth

Over the past month or so, our group of friends has been talking about telling the truth. Not "telling the truth" like avoiding overtly lying, but "truth" like how you really feel about something. Truth like, "Actually, I'm not fine," "I don't feel like going," "When you do that, it bothers me." It may be hurtful in the short term, but overall, it seems better to have it out in the open.

I'm choosing to write about this today because yesterday I got hit by a car on my longboard, and it was absolutely imperative that I tell the truth.

As the driver was apologizing and saying that she just didn't see me, I realized that the "old" me would have jumped in and said, "Oh, it's okay, don't worry about it." But it wasn't okay, and she should be worried, and she should be sorry.

So I did the "real" thing instead of the "right" thing. I admitted to being freaked out and upset, and possibly injured. I told the police officer exactly what happened, even though the lady who hit me was very nice, and I felt badly that she got a ticket. Why should I feel bad? It's time to stop being so damn nice.

Why do we say and do things that aren't in our best interests simply to preserve the feelings of others? If you are hurt you should say so. If you need something, you need speak up. It's a disservice to yourself to sit in silence. And in a way, it's a disservice to others. When you hold everything in and lead everyone to believe that you feel a certain way, then one day you suddenly tip over the edge and explode, you leave a blast-zone of bewildered people who don't understand what went wrong.

The other day I told a client that they were making a "poor choice" by picking one design over another. It felt weird to offer my opinion like that, and in such a blatant way, but I'm glad that I said it. Regardless of the outcome, I'm happy that everyone knows how I feel.

Here are the two postcard designs. I prefer #2 over #1, I feel that it is the more powerful of the two, and is more likely to leave an impression on the viewer.

So be warned. I am done agreeing simply for the sake of saying "Yes."

Lest you think this is only about being catty and evil, consider that it also applies to speaking your mind in general. When Liz and I first started talking about saying what you really think, I experimented with sharing the funny things that I think about instead of censoring myself.

For example, when I saw that the parking lot attendant at the mall had a giant bottle of wine and a sub sandwich at his desk, I said, "You really know how to bring the party." And we all had a good laugh. Good times. Now we all get to be amused instead of just me.

Another example from Liz: Liz asked the girl (Erin) who scans our cards at the gym why there were balloons in the lobby, and Erin said, "It's to show that we appreciate you today," to which Liz replied, "Shouldn't you appreciate us everyday?" And we all had a good laugh. Good times.

In both cases, we have made new aquantance-type-friends. Erin is now very happy to see us each time we go to the gym, and the parking lot attendants are equally enthused to see us. I'm sure they are thinking, "There's those funny girls, I wonder what crazy things they'll say next."

It's not going to hurt the random people you encounter to know what you're thinking. The worst thing that could happen is that they'll think you are a little odd. But honestly, you are a little odd, aren't you? Tell the truth now.


greg said...

I have tried this myself lately and its less stressful than keeping your thoughts to yourself...and a lot of fun. Oh, and the second postcard is better.

Linda said...

Hey Lina, just found this blog. I check your site now and then and I missed it till now.

Just want to say that I totally agree with this post though I'm totally guilty about censoring myself.

Not censoring myself now- yes the second post card is way better, and I'm not just saying that because I like you so much, but because it looks like so much more time and thought went into the second design. I hope you won this case :)

Lance said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one seeing the value in this style of communication. I'm still in the process of re-training my reactions to conduct myself in this manner, actually.

Indeed, it takes a brave person to speak accurately on how they feel, and not simply play to the lowest common denominator (as society seems to exhort us to do at every turn nowadays). For that, my hat's off to you and yours for daring to shake up the status quo. Me? I'll be continuing the pursuit of that level of communication as well.