“I would truly like our words always to be suited as closely as possible to what we feel, so that in all things and through all things we may maintain heartfelt sincerity and candor.”
– St. Francis de Sales, on deeper interior humility
Why go through life trying to get a meaning across without wanting to come right out and say it? Why confuse others because of not being straightforward, open and honest? Why play guessing games and cause miscommunications, rifts between friendships and confusion? It is all a lot of added mental exhaustion and emotional frustrations – not to mention this more often then not this leads us into false humility, as I was reading in Francis de Sales the other day.
Perhaps it’s my personality that finds it easier to be straightforward then to beat around the bush or simply ignore an issue, but I detest any sort of passive aggression. What I’ve often found, when passive aggression is called out on the carpet, said PA Person is forced to truly vocalize their feelings and sort out their emotional irritation. This often makes one realize it’s not as big a deal as one may have made it out to be in ones head. When we have to vocalize something, it somehow makes any petty or selfish behaviour seem just that – petty and selfish. We are able to more quickly move past it, forgive another person for the injury we felt done towards us.
St. Francis de Sales also speaks about false humility. When we don’t speak according to how we feel or think, when we say things to have others think what we wish them to think, instead of giving them the respect they deserve and allowing them to know just what it is that we feel about a particular situation or event, we are being falsely humble. (Excepting the times we know we can swallow something without bringing it to anyones attention, and it won’t later cause a problem). If one falls into being hurt or offended by the doings or sayings of another friend, instead of perhaps getting over a feeling of hurt (making excuses for your friends behaviour, and acknowledging that they probably did not intentionally offend you), one “attempts” to hide the hurt. But in fact, one says they are not offended, while clearly showing signs of hurt in behaviour. One says there is no need for an apology, while intentionally avoiding the friend “at fault” – very often all under the guise of “humility”. This is NOT humility, it is False Humility. By saying there is no need to apologize, you are drawing more attention to your hurt self. By avoiding the friend out of either hurt or anger, you are keeping healing, charity, and love, from taking hold of you.
St. Francis would not have been referring to “feelings” in the emotionally selfish way, he would have been speaking simply of every day living and inter-personal communications. To say what we feel or what we mean is necessary to our charity towards others, our happiness, and ultimately our salvation. Of course charity in speech is a given, and there are of course things we need not vocalize. But in everyday speech, his encouragement of being candid and sincere is of utmost importance to charity, the salvation of our souls, and others souls in that our speech and actions affect them.