We are terrified of heartfelt statements.
Expressing love. Giving blessing. Calling people to action. Condemning or praising actions. For these most important parts of communication life, saying what we really want to say means being vulnerable.
So many heartfelt statements are so often misused that we can’t use our most sincere speech without feeling like frauds. But without heartfelt speech, our words lack the depth we want.
Look at the vows of marriage that we use in the US. These words have been carefully chosen and curated over hundreds of years of wedding ceremonies, and they contain deep, heartfelt commitment.
“I take you to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
Haven’t we always wished you could speak words that carry similar weight elsewhere? Why do we only limit our most meaningful speech to the one or two ceremonies or rituals our culture has left?
I we know we would sound stilted and awkward if we tried to use this kind of language in daily life. It may be that the language isn’t appropriate, but for now let’s lay aside any criticisms of style. We all have heartfelt things we want to say that we are suppressing for fear of embarrassment.
These are the statements for which add our filler words, crack a grin at our own sincerity, wink at our listeners, or apologize for being “cheesy” – all ways to avoid ownership of how we feel.
We need to know that there is no way around the awkwardness. Gravitas does not come naturally. The people who end up achieving it go through the stilted, awkward moments, too – only they’re willing to go all the way.
Sincere speech takes practice. Is it worth enough to you? Acknowledge the awkwardness of your speech if you must, but don’t be shy to say what you need to say.