When you hear the word “humility,” what image first comes to mind? I immediately see a bowed head. But you might think that portrays a lack of self-esteem or a gesture of shame. I see it differently. I see a bowed head as a leaning in towards another and as a symbol of respect. In that brief instant, you are taking the focus off yourself and signaling to the other person that you see them and that you honour them – not for something that they’ve done, but just because they are a fellow traveler on this great big journey of life. They too have had their own share of struggles and for that instant you see their humanity. That in itself is worthy of respect.
Are there people in your life who have a hard time admitting when they’re wrong? Are you one of them? I know it’s not easy to swallow your pride and come clean when you’ve made a misstep or defended a position that was later found out to be false. We’ve all done it. That’s what makes us human. But when you can rise above your ego and show genuine humility when exposed, then you are actually showing your strength of character and not weakness, as some might attest. You see, to be honest first to yourself and then to others, demonstrates that you are secure enough within yourself to accept and love yourself no matter what. To thine own self be true, as they say.
I’m going out on a limb here. All month I’ve been sharing my thoughts about the subject of truth, how to interpret it and how our perception of truth adapts over time when our beliefs shift. But some truths are universal. This is what I mean. As this is the last blog dedicated to the joy habit about truth from Chapter 34 of my book Being Joy™, I wanted to cap it off by talking about truths that we can all agree are legitimate, like the sun and the moon. We see them and accept that they are real. We may give different meanings to them based on our spirituality or scientific understanding, but nevertheless, we agree that they exist.
You’ve likely heard the question: “Why do we have two ears and only one mouth?” You guessed it. Because we’re supposed to listen more and talk less. But we love to tell our own story. And many of us are only too willing to share our opinions whether asked for or not. For some reason, we feel compelled to defend them at all cost! Like I wrote in last week’s post, truths are based upon beliefs that we accept. But that doesn’t mean that my truth is yours or that your truth is mine. We all come to this place in our own way. So why do we think we need to convince others of our truth? Are we really only trying to convince ourselves? Instead, we should, like the opening quote suggests, that we let our truth loose as it will defend itself. It will find its own audience of those who share the same belief. Back to why we have two ears and one mouth.
How do you define truth? There are as many definitions and theories about the word truth as there are probably “truths” out there. Although, there is one that really struck with me: truth – a fact or belief that is accepted as truth. What a profound way of looking at it. There are two words in that definition that interest me most. The first is “belief” and the second is “accepted”. Whose belief? Accepted by who? Since this month’s theme is based on the joy habit of - Be Truthful - from Chapter 34 in my book Being Joy™, I want to explore the consequences of untruths a bit further. You see, the thing to consider is this. What happens when your belief about something changes, either because of a shift in your perspective or new knowledge that comes to light? Are you willing to accept a new truth or hang on to old ways of looking at things because you feel safer in that space? And what are the consequences of either?
Why is it that speaking our truth is so difficult? Is it that we are so conditioned to justify the little white lies we tell ourselves and others as if our soul doesn’t know the difference? But we know. And we usually feel ashamed afterwards. Shame and guilt are two of the most toxic emotions. They disempower and steal our joy. So how about we change that. How about we adopt a new habit of truth telling. And it needs to start with telling the truth to yourself. No one is perfect. So, there are likely a few things about yourself that you’re not all that crazy about. Here’s a simple activity that I include in Chapter 34 – Be Truthful from my book Being Joy™ that might help.
Have you ever thought about the saying “eat your words”? It means to admit when you’ve been wrong about something you’ve said. I’ve always found it such an interesting colloquialism. But since your words are merely an expression of your thoughts, how about we create a new saying that goes - “eat your thoughts.” This new idiom might help to serve as a gentle reminder to catch your thoughts before you regret uttering them out loud. Since this is the last blog about the joy habit - Be Thoughtful, from Chapter 33 of my book Being Joy™, I’ve decided to share several great passages about the power of thought from some of my favourite writers and teachers.
Have you ever wondered why the people in your life are in your life? It’s not an accident you know. The fact is that you’ve attracted them. Yes, your thoughts are what create your entire reality including the people you share time with. The topic of my weekly blog series this month is based on the joy habit Be Thoughtful from Chapter 33 of my book Being Joy™ where I write about how your inner and outer dialogue attract everything that shows up in your life, including your relationships. And the relationships we have with others can be one of the most challenging part of being a human being. You see, we humans are social creatures. From an early age most of us are taught how to share, cooperate, and basically get along. And as we mature, we become more aware of our own identities and gravitate towards others who share similar interests and values.
Words originate from your thoughts. And thoughts are based on your beliefs which are merely your own interpretation of past experiences and the current influences in your life. If you’re not happy with the state of your current experience, perhaps you need to be mindful of the words you are speaking out loud and to yourself. Are they based on feelings of unworthiness or scarcity? It’s usually one of the two. In today's blog I will ask you to examine the origins of your inner dialogue and assess whether or not your thoughts serve or disempower you. If they’re thoughts that prevent you from living a joyful life, then perhaps it’s time to shift your perspective.
Do you realize how much power your thoughts have? In fact, researchers estimate that we humans have about 6200 thoughts a day! So why do we often take our thoughts for granted? We underestimate their impact on the words we speak, the actions we take, and ultimately the reality we create. The topic for this month is based on the joy habit Be Thoughtful from Chapter 33 of my book Being Joy™. In it, I write about the importance of shifting your focus away from negative inner dialogue and instead onto life-affirming language. I even provide a helpful activity called “Word Catching” that can help you shift more quickly when you first notice disempowering thoughts. I hope today’s message will provide some “food for thought” as you go through your activities at work and at play this week.