Although I am deathly afraid of heights, I am not afraid of public speaking. Get me close to the edge of a cliff or in a glass elevator, my legs shake, my heart beats faster, and I am noticeably uncomfortable. Ask me, however, to step up to a podium on a stage and share on a topic I’m passionate about, and I have zero fear.
I am not eloquent, but I am direct. As a younger woman, editing my speech wasn’t my strength, so I would have been described as frank…occasionally even rude. I realize that isn’t pretty, but it’s the truth. The good news is, as I have grown, in age and in wisdom, I’ve learned to insert some grace as I speak. And it is intentional, this change. I work on this every day, because it’s something I truly want.
Graceful, direct communication takes practice! For people like me, who value honest conversation and no-nonsense interaction, this can sometimes feel like a time-waster…round-about and silly. See? I just did it again. Rude…
It’s just that I so want to just get to the point, and I know my own heart. With no desire to hurt anybody, I really just want to get to the heart of the matter in as little time as possible.
But I’m not everyone. My way isn’t your way. How I hear isn’t how you hear. If I want you to hear me, I must consider your ears.
Work has been a great place to sand the edges for me. Colleagues that are lifelong friends have been mirrors in this area, and have been willing to be honest about my progress, or lack thereof. I could never thank them enough for how they have helped me grow.
Family is great, too, because nowhere am I more myself than with them. There is no better feeling for me than when my children comment on how I have changed how I speak to them. Grace just wasn’t part of the equation in their early years. Standards were. Expectations were. But grace and understanding? Not so much(maybe more on that another post to come).
Friends are where I continue to stumble. I’ll find myself trying to say something and realizing what it sounds like…maybe it’s the look on their face that yanks me into awareness. The thing is, most people that know me well know that you’ll never really be perplexed about what I think:-) That’s probably a good thing, if I remember to tell you how much you mean to me, and hug you as you leave. Saying “I’m sorry” has become easier through the years, too. I have more opportunities as time goes by:-)
Church? That’s a hard one, because I think I struggle most with being direct there. Weird, because Jesus wasn’t subtle. He was frank, and loving. He called it as it was. I keep at it, though, willing to be honest and forthright when I have the opportunity to speak, praying for grace in my speech, and for your ears to hear my heart.