Courageous communication

“Didn’t the US celebrate taking the iron curtain down? Why are we putting another one up?”

Sonja Orban.

The above quote comes from a friend in Minneapolis who has a great sense of humour. She plays a mean violin too. It’s a good question. Have you noticed all the Martin Luther King quotes circulating on social media, this week? I’ve enjoyed them. It’s nice how we can share quotes and stories and honour other people’s lives and life messages through these platforms. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes we have to use our own unique voice. And speaking up can sometimes be costly. I heard on Irish radio today that Ghandi was terrified of public speaking. He actually ran out of a public event once so great was his fear. Who knew?

I’ve noticed lately how some cultures permit or promote a lot of judgement and opinion based communication. Opinions rarely change anything. And judgment and condemnation can have an emotional and psychological crippling effect on others, especially on young people. I’ve been fortunate to experience cultures where there is a lot of love and grace based communication. But sometimes there can be a lack of truth in that style. On the up side of the love and grace based environment people open up more and take more risks. So there’s a balance.

Have you heard of PPS ? Perpetual positivity syndrome. If this style isn’t grounded in truth, reality, or the rough and tumble of community life it can come across as superficial or inauthentic.

Sometimes it’s hard to admit to blind spots in how we communicate with others? I have them. We all have them. But we can ask those who truly care for us and wish the very best for us for feed forward? We can use the freedom of expression we enjoy to develop our OWN voice and speak out for those who have no voice? Especially in the area of human rights violations.

I draw great inspiration from leaders like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor who used his voice and platform to preach against Nazism. He was executed under direct order from Hitler two weeks before his camp was liberated. He was a man and leader of great courage and conviction who spoke out AND wrote for the greater good of humanity, regardless of the cost to his own life.

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