The way we communicate now has changed so much over that past two decades. What once warranted a phone call, now is summed up in a brief text or email. Does this brevity serve us? Are we really getting the opportunity to speak our truth and have it heard with its full meaning? The other aspect is social media and technology has given everybody a voice and a means to share their opinion. Often without really contemplating our message. We share it unabashedly; to anyone that will listen. It is time to take our voice back and really learn how to speak our truth.
What Truth Isn’t
Your truth is not your opinion. An opinion is a thought or idea about something external in our environment. For example, my boss is a jerk. This is an opinion. You may have all sorts of evidence to back up this opinion. There may even be other people who agree with you, but it isn’t your truth. Your truth might be, “I feel disrespected when you single me out in meetings unnecessarily. This makes me uncomfortable and I would like you to consider a new approach.” Our truth is about communicating what we feel and think in a vulnerable and authentic way. It is not about being right or about sharing your opinion; it is about being accountable for our experience and expressing ourselves in an intimate and transparent way.
Your truth is also not a reaction. A reaction is a knee-jerk response based on previous programming. Often it is from this place that we attack another for sharing their opinions on something. When we re-act, this is not a present moment expression from the core of our being. Instead, we are letting our false beliefs about ourselves lead the conversation.
There are many beliefs that could be lingering in our subconscious that will affect our ability to speak our truth. I am not good enough is a big one. Leading from this place might cause us to keep our ideas, thoughts and feelings to ourselves because we do not value what we have to say. This feeds our people-pleasing tendency. Growing up in a household where children were to be seen and not heard is another example that can inhibit us.
Some people and some situations are not worth your time or energy. It is important to weigh your time and energy against the weight of not speaking your truth. There will be times when it is better to just let things go. A way you can tell whether or not your truth is really worth speaking (and not just wanting to be right) is, if you walk away will you regret and rehash this moment knowing your should have said something? Will you leave the situation feeling like a doormat? Has this situation occurred with this person, time and time again? We don’t want to move through life from a victim consciousness, feeling the world is out to get us and people don’t respect us. That is coming from the ego rather than the heart. Your truth about who you are and what you need is a heart level experience. So it is the conversation with our boss or our sister, not just the cashier at the grocery store that was grumpy. Or the man on the street that rudely bumped into you. If those short encounters are bothering you, then there are probably long-standing circumstances in your life where you are not speaking up and being heard. The man on the street is a symptom of a much larger challenge. Manage your energy wisely and choose your moments.
This is a fantastic TEDTalk with Ash Beckham on having the hard conversations. It is totally worth your time, because as Ash Beckham says, “We all have closets”.
How to Speak Your Truth
- Choose the right medium
If it is something important that you want to say, especially something you have been harboring for a while, don’t express it via text or email. Your truth is about conveying both emotion and thought. Electronic communication does not do a good job of conveying these important emotions. It can leave much up to interpretation. Our truth should be direct and honest. We don’t want people to have to read between the lines. So consider having these conversations in person or at the very least, over the phone.
- Choose the right time
In the middle of a heated argument is not the right time to speak your truth. Speaking your truth is not only about sharing your truth, but feeling like it is being heard. In the middle of a stressful situation or in a fight, your message is less likely to be heard by the other person. So choose a time when things are calm, everyone is well fed and there are no time constraints.
- Be unattached to how the truth is received
Now while the other person might hear you, that doesn’t mean it will be received well. That is their story, not yours. We have no control over how another person will respond or react to your truth. That is okay. As long as your goal isn’t just to be right, or impose your opinion on someone, but really is a vulnerable, heartfelt expression of your core. If that is the case, then it doesn’t matter how your truth is taken. Your truth is subjective, meaning, that it belongs to you alone. As Ash Beckham says, “If you’re going to be real with someone, you gotta be ready for real in return”.
- Don’t mange other’s emotions
Much of the truth gets stifled when we try to manage the other person’s emotions. We may sugar coat our message or downplay our emotions in an attempt to not hurt the other person’s feelings.
Speaking our truth isn’t always kind, but is should be respectful. Meaning that we are not attacking the other person for their behavior, instead, we are sharing how we feel when… If we spend too much time worrying about the other person’s feelings, we are not being true to our own.
The most important thing is to be present. Speaking your truth is a present moment experience. Take a moment; gather your thoughts and feelings. Take a few conscious breaths and really get clear on what it is you want to communicate. Speaking our truth is an important part of our spiritual evolution. Being able to communicate and feel like we are being heard is a sign of our awakening. Remember to get clear on the emotions that underlie our thoughts. Take a breath and speak from the heart. There is freedom in this.