Speak Your Truth, Listen To Others…

This article looks at a point made in a favourite piece of writing, which I saw exemplified in an image…

“Speak your truth quietly and clearly: and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant: they too have their story.”

I love those words, and they come from a piece which has line after line of powerful words. The piece is called ‘Desiderata’. When it was first discovered in a church it was thought to be ancient writing, but it was then revealed to have been written in 1929 by Max Ehrmann.

It’s a wonderful piece, it’s been used by many people in quote images, obviously including myself!

The image I’m using was taken during a woodland stroll in Kent, UK, to take in the bluebells. It was late in the bluebell season, so the bluebells had a nice scattered look as opposed to the blanket cover you get in full season.

Something I noticed when walking along were the two tall pink flowers in amongst the bluebells. I didn’t know what they were, but I liked the image. I’m still not 100% sure, but I think they’re wild orchids.

I’m going to come back to them later, but first let’s look at the start of the line from Desiderata…

Speak your truth quietly and clearly.

That’s a powerful 6 words!

"Desiderata", "Gordon Bryan",

Speaking your truth means being honest with others and being honest with yourself, about yourself. It means being true to the real you, your real opinions, your real passions.

When it comes to doing it quietly, that means you don’t need to shout! You don’t need to rant, to try and overpower or dominate others with your opinions. It’s often the case that opinions offered quietly can be more powerful than those being yelled.

Now, that’s not to say you should be a timid mouse about your opinions! Don’t be afraid to give them, don’t be afraid to stand behind them and hold fast, because the times will surely come when others try to beat them down.

Of course, if you’re going to give your opinions, your *truth* both quietly and clearly, you need to be sure about what they are! You need to have looked into issues, looked into yourself, to get to that solid foundation of who you are and what you believe.

Once you have that foundation in place, you’ll be able to express it clearly, because it will be the same every time, and you’ll learn how to communicate it to others.

I did say I would talk again about those two pink wild orchids – the ‘dull’ and the ignorant’ of the piece..!

If you’ve put the work and study in to establish your foundation beliefs, that by default *must* have included taking an open mind to different opinions. If it didn’t, then you haven’t done it properly, because to properly justify your beliefs you must have looked at opposing beliefs to make comparisons.

So, if you’ve been open minded to other opinions than yours, that holds that you still are, and it also holds that you are prepared to listen to others, and yes that included the dull and the ignorant.

Of course ‘dull’ and ‘ignorant’ are subjective terms – not particularly politically correct either, but in the context of the point I’m making, they work, and here’s why…

People considered to be dull and/or ignorant might simply be quiet. They might simply be happy with their own company. They might be introvert. Who knows what their story might be, and that’s precisely the point!

They *have* their story. They might want to tell it just as much as you want to tell yours. The fact that you might have to listen hard, or they might not be able to express is very well doesn’t mean it isn’t there, nor does it make it less valid.

It’s just as much there, and just as much valid as anyone else’s – as yours, as mine, as the loud, boorish, dominant ones, and for all we know they might have the richest story of all.

So, be sure of your truth. Be prepared to stand up for it and express it, but you don’t have to dominate others with it. Listen to anyone else expressing their own truth, challenge it if you want, and if you have to work a little harder to get to the story of some people, then so be it!

I really *do* enjoy “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, I do suggest you search it out, and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it again in other articles, as it keeps providing wonderful personal development points like this one!

Ok, I’d love to hear what you think as ever – do leave a comment!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
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  • Hi Gordon,
    I really enjoyed this post and although I was aware of ‘Desiderata’, I’ve never thought about it lioke you so cleverly provided.

    The real stand out to me was indeed, as yu pointed out, “speak the truth quietly and clearly” – thanks Gordon for the fantastic interpretation you provided. There is no way I’m going to try and improve on that my man – it was awesome.

    But I will tell you I went digging around in a bunch of old suitcases and finally uncovered my very own, and admittedly ragged edged version of ‘Desiderata’- you just made my day.

    Many thanks for this great share of nostalgia and truth Gordon

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village marketer


    • Thanks for your kind words Peter, much appreciated!
      I loved ‘Desiderata’ from the first moment I read it – it really is rich with nuggets!

    • Very nice tenets too! Is there a fixed set, like the 5 pillars of Islam?
      If only more people did them, or even tried them! Still, that’s what I try to do with my message 😉
      Thanks as ever for stopping by!
      Cheers, Gordon