Always tell the truth, just don’t always be telling the truth. That was a philosophy my mother often spoke. As a kid, it seemed like a stupid thing to say, a contradiction in concepts. As an adult, I totally get it. I am even learning to take that expression a step further.
While my mom often told us to be careful with our words so as to not hurt others’ feelings, she also demonstrated that sharing your feelings, if anything beyond happy, was inappropriate. I came to see my mother as the world’s best doormat because she rarely stood up for her beliefs or needs if they contradicted what someone else wanted to do.
In my mid-twenties, I started on my personal growth path by reading a couple of Wayne Dyer’s books. I could pull my own strings?! Whoa. That was an eye-opening concept to me.
I was raised to believe that manners included not speaking up for yourself — or pulling my own strings. That didn’t feel like a healthy way to live, yet still struggled to overcome my training. I even took a class from the YWCA called Being an Assertive Woman. My parents were horrified! It was only years later that I learned they thought assertive was a synonym for aggressive.
A Long Process
Learning to speak my truth was going to be a process of unlearning my training and calming that pendulum swing that comes with learning new ways of thinking and living. You may find that’s true for you too — growth can be challenging.
A pointer in learning to speak your truth can be found in the advice “Strong back, soft front, wild hearts” by Joan Halifax via Brené Brown in her podcast Unlocking Us I see people armor themselves to live in this world. Sometimes that armor is to hide in. The world isn’t meant to be hidden from, it’s meant to be enjoyed and engaged with.
Sometimes the armor makes people feel entitled and invincible. I believe that is the feeling behind people being brutal or harsh with “their truth”. Truth isn’t meant to be used to hurt others, or to set them straight. It’s meant for you to speak your thoughts. Being kind is critical for sharing your thoughts and needs. If you can’t be kind, wait until you can before you speak.
Truth is meant to give you an avenue to be heard and known. I believe when you bottle your ideas, feelings, and needs up, you make yourself sick. Often that inhibition you experience causes the body to react the same way it does with fear — a hormone flood that if it sticks around too long causes your body to malfunction.
Problems With Not Speaking Your Truth
Here’s my non-scientific list of symptoms someone can experience when they don’t speak their truth. This list is based on my observations and conclusions.
- GI issues
- High blood pressure
The Joy of Being Open
From the point of Strong Heart, Soft Front, Wild Hearts, open yourself to gently expressing your truth. Start small, say with family and friends. When you are comfortable with that, move to your outer circles of connections. Find peace and joy in sharing yourself. Others will love it, too.