“No one is hated more than a man who speaks the truth.”
I want to share a quote with you that inspired this newsletter. It’s a well-known quote that I think carries a lot of weight. In fact, I just shared it in a post not long ago. It was Plato who once said, “No one is hated more than a man who speaks the truth.”
When I first read that, I thought what the hell does that mean? Since when did the truth become unpopular and controversial? Was he saying that people should be less than truthful?
No. Not at all.
In his teachings, Plato was one of the first to emphasize the value of truth and reason over opinion and emotion. Think about it, what drives people to learn, study and investigate? We need the truth to gain a higher level of understanding about ourselves and the world we live in.
But the more I thought about it, I understood the reason people who speak the truth are hated.
When the truth challenges our beliefs, values, and interests, people find it extremely hard to accept, which is exactly why people who speak the truth are met with hostility and resentment. Some are even met with violence.
The truth is essential for our overall well-being and happiness. Plato argued that living in accordance with the truth is the only way to achieve harmony and justice in ourselves and our society. He also argued that lying and deceiving ourselves and others is the source of all evil and suffering.
That’s a hard-line stance but think about this for a minute. How many times have you heard about a court case where the entire world knew the defendant was guilty, but they went free anyway? I’m not trashing defense attorneys out there, they are necessary in this world, but many use deceptive tactics to find ways around the laws. I don’t really need an example to make my point, but if you want one anyway, go back to the double murder trial of a certain retired pro football player in the 90’s. 
Bottom line is: the truth can be hard to find sometimes
…which is what makes it so valuable.
But let’s be clear on something else, just because you think something is true doesn’t necessarily make it the truth, so let’s exclude that. When I talk about the truth, I mean the undisputed truth.
Think about a common conversation that probably happens every day between parents and their kids: “You’re not going out wearing that are you? Everyone is going to think [fill in the blank]”.
Understandably, this is a cautionary statement meant to warn a kid of how mean the world can be, but it’s not a truthful statement. A truthful statement would sound like, “I don’t like that shirt/outfit/whatever on you. I think it makes you look [fill it in again]”. Now, you’re speaking the truth on how you actually feel, which we all know will most likely backfire into an argument. But now you can understand why Plato said those that tell the truth are hated.

With that example in mind, there are ways to speak the truth with tact. You’d be surprised how with a few small changes to the way you physically deliver a truthful message, people will be grateful, and not silently (or not silently) hating you. Here are just a few things you need to keep in mind as a truth teller/seeker.
  • Your tone of voice: Telling the truth doesn’t have to sound angry, sarcastic, or judgmental. Your tone of voice should match the context. That’s why the term constructive feedback exists.
  • Your volume: The volume of your voice should be adjusted to the person and the situation. This can be tricky, too loud and you can be considered aggressive, or too quiet and you can come off as timid. Your voice should be clear and the volume should be appropriate for the situation.
  • Your facial expression: Telling the truth should not turn you into a meme. When you’re delivering the truth and there is a chance it may not be accepted well, your face should have a neutral/positive expression. Think about it, would you believe what someone was saying if they were smirking or rolling their eyes?
  • Your body language: Telling a truth that may not be popular requires open and relaxed body language. Your body language needs to show that you are confident and respectful. This means you’re not tapping your feet, crossing your arms, or getting in someone’s personal space. Maintaining eye contact while slightly leaning in with your upper body is enough.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when you want to tell the truth with tact. You also need to consider the timing, the setting, and your relationship to the person you’re talking to. We both know you won’t talk the same way to your boss as you do your kids. Yet both of those are important relationships in your life that require truthful conversations.
If you want to operate from truth and ride that hard road, here are some serious things you need to think about: are you someone who thinks before they speak and someone who says what they mean and means what they say?
You also have to ask yourself some tough questions. Do you manipulate or exaggerate facts, or omit things to gain an advantage or avoid trouble? Do you break promises? Do you hide or distort something about yourself in order to impress or please other people? Do you gossip? Are you someone who pretends everything is fine when it really isn’t?
These questions are not easy to answer but are absolutely necessary if you want to live a life rooted in truth. Remember, being truthful does not mean being rude or harsh, it means being respectful. It means you respect someone enough to tell them something real.
we have to be willing to face the world as it is, and not how we wish it would be. 
Living in truth also means being accountable for your actions and the consequences that come with them. But more importantly, it means being loyal to ourselves and to those that matter to us.
Also, delivering truth with tact does not mean you’re sugarcoating anything. It’s about being honest in a way that considers other people’s feelings and reactions. Believe it or not, you can actually be direct without being an asshole.

I promise that being truthful will not always make you popular or comfortable, but it will offer you a sense of fulfillment that is unforgettable.
So again, let’s aim for truth today.
I'll see you in the next one,
-Steven Williams

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