The one thing that sends me out of balance quickest is when I am not living my truth. But what does that mean and how can it help you?
What is ‘My Truth’?
My truth isn’t just about not lying or telling fibs, it’s being my most authentic self, in every situation, without any fear of the response. It’s a practice of absolute candor towards myself and others.
With others, it is about being able to speak openly and freely, not compromising fundamental values and beliefs.
Have you ever swallowed your thoughts so as not to cause confrontation or upset someone, whilst playing over in your head what you ‘wished’ you had said or done?
With yourself, it’s about deciphering the internal narrative.
Have you ever heard that little voice in your head say, “I am not good enough”, “I don’t deserve this”, “She hates me”, “He doesn’t want me to succeed”. If you are quick enough, catch the thoughts and ask yourself; which ones are really true?
And be honest right now, how often do you repeat these thoughts or avoid voicing them?
If you don’t recognise these kinds of thoughts, then save yourself five minutes, this article is not for you! Recognise them? Carry on reading, hopefully something in here can help open up some new thinking!
If we don’t speak our truths, they turn into regrets.
Holding back causes angst whereas candor lays the foundations for growth.
I know I am ignoring “My Truth” when I get a feeling of ‘angst’. When felt strongly it manifests as a sickly feeling of churning in my stomach. A mild form can just feel slightly uncomfortable. Can you Identify your physical responses? Do you feel it in your stomach or does your head throb? Can you hear buzzing or just feel your fists ball up?
If we don’t process it immediately our stored emotion has three places it can go:
- SHORT TERM: It escalates quickly in the mind and “Blurt it out” creates more damage than addressing things in situ.
- MEDIUM TERM: It gets stored until something else triggers its release. Often the person in the firing line wasn’t initially involved! (We have all projected onto someone else I am sure!)
- LONG TERM: It gets stashed away in Pandora’s box, causing you to slowly become someone who you are not. (Eventually we can become too afraid to even look in the box.)
When we speak our truth, we open the door to becoming the best version of ourselves.
Aside from averting all the negative outcomes, consciously speaking your truth promotes conversation, debate, and discussion. We can learn and grow as people and help others do the same. The absence of debate creates dissonance, which is such a major problem in society today, with people unable to understand a point of view which is not exactly like their own.
Some of the benefits I have found from speaking my truth have been:
- Vastly improved relationships
- New ways of thinking
- Increased compassion
- Inner peace
- New and improved ways to do things.
- Enhanced self confidence
- Helping others to be better
- Diffusing volatile situations
- And more…
It might sound easy; “Just speak your truth” but it can be harder than it looks:
Why is it so hard to speak your truth?
There may be several reasons: It might be seen as confrontational, and we fear the reaction. We may have tried to speak out in the past to only be shut down, and even had our candor used against us.
Here are a couple of personal examples of why it’s not as straight forward as we might hope.
- I had a blind spot with a family member, who I could see was hurting themselves by doing things a certain way. Rather than suggest an alternative I kept quiet. Quietly afraid of their judgment, worried that I would cause an argument and fearful of receiving an angry response.
Keeping quiet ensured that they were not upset, initially, but all it served to do was make me frustrated and annoyed. Each time I saw the behaviour, my internal narrative escalated the gravity and eventually, I blurted out my feelings without enough care and upset everyone!
- I changed jobs three times in a year (back in 2013). I even set up my own business when these roles didn‘t work out, and, although it was moderately successful, I was not fulfilled. I blamed everyone else for my failures and wasn’t shy in sharing my feelings.
Eventually I realised I was not being true to myself. I was convinced that I wanted to build a big company and be the boss but in reality, I wanted autonomy and freedom to be creative. It’s even harder to spot when you are hoodwinking yourself!
How can you live ‘Your Truth’?
To be true to yourself it’s important to define your values (and anti-values) and understand what motivates (and demotivates) you, but if you haven’t done that yet don’t worry. You can start today by practicing some of these techniques.
- Listen to understand. Don’t be quick to judge, deeply understand the situation before responding.
- Think about your response. you might be able to just let go rather than the need to speak out.
- Take your time to respond. The first thing in your mind isn’t always the right one.
- Speak freely and authentically. If emotions are high, allow them to dissipate before addressing the situation.
- Take care of feelings – on both sides. Use empathy to understand the other person’s perspective AND try to gauge their emotions too. Respond with regard for the other person.
- Don’t get emotional. If you feel emotions rising in yourself or others, take a moment to calm down. Come back to it later if you need to.
- Let go of the fear of the response. If it’s worth saying, then don’t be afraid.
- Don’t try to persuade. Say how you feel (your truth) and let the other person process. Avoid trying to convince them you are right or telling them how they should think.
- Accept others may not agree. It’s okay to have different opinions. What you do next is a different discussion.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and practicing ‘living your truth’ is something which you will need to keep working on, I certainly am, by doing so it will certainly bring balance and calm to your life and enhance your relationships with those around you, in the long run.
Credits: My Inspiration:
Often my inspiration comes from other people’s writing or the teachings of others, frequently I am inspired by those around me. The journey for your Truth is one that never ends and requires practice and refinement and as the feelings of inner calm grow longer the work becomes more and more worthwhile.
If you want to explore my inspirations check out:
“Radical Candor” by Kim Scott. A book for the business minded but practical tips and hacks for speaking your truth and getting the right result.
“Men are from Mars; Women are From Venus” by John Gray. This book helped me see whole new ways of looking at things and not only communicating, but doing so in a way which the recipient could contextualise
“The Mask of Masculinity” by Lewis Howes. A life changing text for me. I realised how many masks I was wearing and the impact that ‘faking’ it was having on me and those around me. I didn’t even need anyone else in the room – I was quite happily lying to myself it turns out!
My Coach and Mentor – Bevis Moynan (Magenta Coaching Solutions) Who, I continue to work with in search of stripping away more layers of the onion in constant pursuit of being the best version of myself.