“It’s just the way I am, I’m a straight talker. If people get hurt it’s their problem”

I used to say this often and I’m sure you know someone who proudly says this. I was so focused on speaking my truth and that was the most important thing.

After working on myself, I identified what drove me to be that way and perhaps you can identify with some of them:

When I spotted something that was wrong or bad, it was a moment for me to demonstrate my rightness by strongly opposing. I justified my harsh directness in the name of righteousness.

Desire to prove that I am strong
After many difficult circumstances, being strong was everything. I had to be strong for me, strong for my kids, strong in my career. I went overboard to a point that I perceived being harsh as being strong.

Desire to appear intelligent
I perceived harsh cold words that went straight to the point as a sign of intelligence, it showed I can figure things out quickly and address them with the same swiftness, a true mark of an intelligent person I thought.

Lack of empathy for myself
I was once my biggest enemy, ever reviewing, assessing, improving, introspecting, diagnosing. My study of me was endless. I was hypercritical and blatant about my shortcomings and in turn was blatant and critical of others.

Lack of care for other people’s feelings
This is related to my previous point. Because I didn’t care about my feelings and was more driven by my performance, the same applied to others. It was about my mandate to deliver truth. Caring about and looking into my personal feelings was immaterial so how could I possibly give others something I didn’t have for myself?

Now, making everyone happy is certainly not my goal. Sometimes people do need to hear direct truths, my point is check your motives and intentions before you do so. Be respectful and clear about what you want to communicate. Consider the setting as well, some things are best said in a one-on-one conversation or formally in writing. Shooting everyone down with the truth is hardly a way to build relationships and networks, it can end up doing more damage than good.