I’ve been hearing the words ‘Speak your Truth’ a lot recently. From my coach mostly, but also from this little voice inside my head that’s been urging me to speak up instead of shutting up.
Speak Your Truth
On Saturday I attended a workshop called ‘Speak Your Truth’ run by Phil Askew and Kate Jones. The workshop was created for people who want to learn to say what they really feel, break through barriers that hold them back from speaking from the heart and struggle with asserting themselves.
I have to admit I was very nervous beforehand. I didn’t sleep well the night before and the morning of the workshop I felt sick to the stomach. But once I was there I was determined to give as much of myself as I could in order to learn and grow. And I’m so glad I did.
My Relationship with Truth
We were asked to do some preparation before the course which got me thinking about my relationship with Truth and what ‘Speaking My Truth’ means to me. And some of the things which came up for me were uncomfortable to acknowledge as they are not how I want to be.
Courage and Vulnerability
The first thing I realised is that speaking the truth requires courage and often that courage is lacking in me for various reasons. One reason is that speaking the truth leaves me feeling extremely vulnerable. And being vulnerable means that I could be attacked and/or rejected by the people I love.
Another reason is that speaking my truth could result in me saying things that the person I’m speaking to doesn’t like. That could result in conflict. And I hate conflict. I try to avoid it at costs.
But recently I’ve noticed that my avoidance of conflict has actually turned into a source of conflict. Often I find myself agreeing to something or not saying what I really want in the interests of harmony or ‘keeping the peace’. But if my heart isn’t in something it’s going to show sooner or later and the people I love are going to notice and we are going to have conflict.
The other thing that became clear is that speaking my truth makes me more authentic. That’s another word I’ve been hearing a lot of lately. What does it mean to be authentic? To me being authentic means being free of any pretence. Cutting through the bullshit and saying what I really think and feel. Being my true self. Being real. Not being what I think other people want me to be and saying and doing things to please them, but just being me.
Why, oh why, is that so difficult?
What are the Costs of not Speaking My Truth?
When I say nothing, or comply, I feel angry. Angry with myself. At first it may show up as a little irritation or not knowing why I’m in a bad mood. But eventually the anger manifests itself in other ways. Snapping at my partner, getting ill, feeling depressed or drinking too much.
Not speaking my truth means that I am suppressing my true self. One of the things that became crystal clear on the course is that when you say what you really feel and when you do what you really want, you are not only speaking your truth, but you are being your true self.
Through the course of the day we looked at different styles of telling the truth and areas in which we could develop ways to speak our truth. We ended with a very powerful visualisation in which we imagined expressing our true selves.
What was reassuring was knowing that I am not alone. Other people find speaking their truth difficult too. And the more I spoke about my relationship with truth the less scary an issue it became and the more necessary it felt to be courageous and open and speak from the heart. The workshop offered a very safe space in which to do this and Phil in particular had a wonderful, gentle and impish quality about him which I really responded to.
First Steps towards Speaking my Truth
This week I have been taking tentative steps in my relationship with my partner to speak my truth. To be honest, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of the time things have come out wrong. I’ve said some hurtful things, I’ve said things that weren’t really getting to the heart of the matter. There was a lot of mud to wade through first.
But the more I’ve spoken, the more my truth has become clearer. Already, after just a few days of speaking from the heart, I feel a greater sense of honesty and intimacy between us. And I feel a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in a while.
Photo: Thanks to Ed Yourdon on Flickr.com