“When You Water Down Truth, You Water Down Transformation”

I spent this past weekend in Los Angeles doing more communication/ partnership work with the lovely and talented Alison Armstrong.

One of the many things she said that made me stop and think was, “When you water down truth, you water down transformation.”

The tricky bit—and the question I had for her— was, “What if someone else’s truth isn’t your truth?” (and vice versa)

For example, perhaps you have a client, friend or family member who is upset with you and says something along the lines of “That’s just my truth,” to which you physically (or mentally) respond, “Well it’s not mine.”

What to do next?

Alison’s response was that if it’s real to them then it’s real, and as long as you continue to do anything from dilute to disrespect it, transformation cannot occur.

Alternatively, perhaps you have a truth of your own that you want to share but you don’t because you worry that it might hurt the person’s feelings/rock the boat, so you do anything from water it down to stuff it down.

The trouble with this is that now you are disrespecting yourself and the other person. You are not honoring what is real for you and you are making an assumption that the other person isn’t strong enough to handle the truth.

But as we learned, courtesy of Jack Nicholson, in “A Few Good Men,” that simply isn’t so:

Clearly, kindly, factually stated, most people can handle the truth – particularly if you point out that your goal isn’t to terminate but to transform your relationship.


To learn more about what I’ve learned from Alison about how to be in partnership, take a look at “Be a Heart Ask, Not a Smart Ask”