Spring fashions rolled out over the last month or so. Being aware of such matters never occurred to me until I started shopping in front of the television.

What can I say? It’s fun, convenient, and the home shopping networks have chatty gals willing to spend their time telling me what great stuff is perfect for me. I love how they work their schedule around mine and encourage me to have a cup of coffee and a snack while we get down to the business of updating my wardrobe.

Read between the lines: I do not enjoy dragging myself from store to store, picking my way through racks of clothes, trying them on and figuring out whether I want to bring them home with me.

Sometimes the truth is in our words. Sometimes the truth is what we are not saying.

But it takes practice to hear that in conversation, especially within ourselves. There is a patient awareness necessary to discern the difference between silent truth and a story we are telling ourselves.

Let’s stay with my shopping preferences. Do you share my disdain for clothes shopping? Perhaps you don’t like clothes shopping either, but for different reasons. Do you like clothes shopping? Perhaps you don’t mind the activity, but don’t go out of your way to spend a Saturday afternoon at the mall to see what you like. Whatever your position, you know your own mind and you have your reasons.

If you are about to launch yourself into convincing yourself you can help me love shopping, stop. Just stop and know that this is a story you are telling yourself that has nothing to do with me. The truth is you like clothes shopping, I don’t. Sometimes the truth is in our words and this is one of those times.

But stay with that story you may be telling yourself, the one in which you think you can persuade someone to love what you love, despite what they have told you. What is the story you are telling yourself? What is the silent truth behind your need to be right about how great shopping for clothes can be? What are trying to convince yourself of?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: It’s not about the clothes shopping.

We all have our stories, our need to be right, so right, about something we feel compelled to get everybody around us to see how right we are. No matter what. When I feel myself wanting to interrupt, when I repeat myself because I don’t feel heard I know this is the cue to pay attention to how I am listening. When I can give myself permission to back up, give myself a wider perspective, I am able to hear the truth, both my own and that of my conversational companion.

While the details of the conversation vary, the truth of every human exchange is that we are creating something between us that has never existed before. That takes attention, concentration and effort. The reward is a deep pleasure in learning something more about ourselves. If this is not the spirit of your human interchanges I would suggest that you may be approaching others from a competitive mindset, one in which you may have a need to be right. And if you have a need to be right, everybody else automatically becomes wrong. Competition in conversation limits satisfying results. Generous cooperation creates satisfying exchanges that grow our patient awareness.

Patient awareness is one of the great truths, creating honesty, trust and mutual understanding, starting with our own inner voices. Take a moment, right now, and ask yourself: What is my least favorite vegetable? Now, ask yourself: What time and energy have I used to convince myself to like this vegetable? Now, one more question: What do I hear in how I am talking to myself? Paying attention to how you listen to other people is equally important as paying attention to how you talk to yourself. Are you communication with yourself with generous cooperation? Or are you limiting your own satisfaction in living by competing against yourself in your own mind?

What is your legacy? What do you want to share now that will make the world better? How do you tell yourself you can make that happen? It’s not about the clothes shopping, but it is about the message, the truth, the purpose you came to give the world and how you how you choose to clearly convey it.

Author's Bio: 

As a communication coach, Cory focuses her work on helping women in transition find their voice so they can live their purpose in the world.

Over thirty years of journaling experience as applied in individual and community ministries gives Cory an informed perception about beliefs, their implications and transformational power in everyday life. Cory also brings twenty-plus years of retail sales, customer service, training and management experience, with companies including Bath and Body Works, The Bombay Company and The Rack division of The Nordstrom Company, to her coaching programs.

Cory L. Kemp, a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay with a double major in Communication and the Arts and Social Change and Development, with a minor in Women's Studies, and was ordained into the ministry of the Moravian Church after receiving her Master of Divinity degree from Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Are you ready to make a decision? Find your voice and live your true purpose now. Receive your complimentary “Connect Your Thoughts to Your Purpose” coaching session by emailing Cory at cory@corykemp.com. Subscribe to Translations, the ezine of Communication Leadership.