Recently I have received some questions about this sentence and what I mean when I say it. I wanted to clarify what this means to me, how and when I use it.
I have used these phrases in several of my previous blogs; for example: “I now use my voice to speak my truth” or “I am now confident to speak my truth”. Many current leaders and celebrities are using the phrase with an assumed definition or explanation for it. Their followers or admirers have started using the phrase, again with no explanation or clarification of their meaning or belief system behind it, using it flippantly or to shut people down. I have spoken my truth, take it or leave it! It is hard to differentiate between the truth and their truth, between someone using the phrase to dominate or propagate their dogma in society or someone just standing up for themselves in an unfair situation, or finally being able explain their belief.
I want to make it very clear that I am not preaching, I am not spreading “my truth” as the truth or worse the only truth. I am not advocating or encouraging disruption for personal gain. A very important fact to please take note of too, I always spell the words ‘my truth’ with small letters, never capitals.
When I say, speak your truth or I am speaking my truth, I am opening the conversation, I am adding to the debate, I am making my thoughts and feelings clear, with my ears wide open to hear you and your thoughts about it. I am speaking my values and beliefs and I am sharing with you what my moral standing is on a subject. There is an enormous difference between ‘opinion’ and ‘truth’. We all have opinions, but they are not fact. Opinions are filled with arrogance, that you are always right and others are wrong (Mike Robbins 2021). The Oxford dictionary explains the word opinion as follows: it is a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
So when I say: “this is my truth.” I am not giving an opinion. I am sharing a fact about me, my philosophy and moral stand.
Speaking a truth is not about being correct, but about being authentic in our emotions and our reality. It is about expressing thoughts and feelings in an authentic, vulnerable and transparent manner.
Mike Robbins (2021) explains this best in his blog Speaking your truth to live a life of authenticity: “When we let go of being right about our opinions and take responsibility for our experience, we can speak our truth from a much deeper and more authentic place”.
Letting go of always being correct and taking responsibility, that is what I had to do before I could share with anyone my feelings or even start this blog. I had to let go of my and other people’s opinions about my voice, life and physical being. I had to accept the judgements about it weren’t true, there was no fact in any of these thoughts or beliefs. I then had to take responsibility for the experiences, thoughts, judgements and create new belief systems that directed me onto a new path.
Speaking my truth, was freeing and it brought me so much closer to others. By accepting my voice and changing my beliefs about it, I became closer to my authentic self. I lost some people during this process, because their belief of me didn’t make sense anymore, and as sad as it is I accept it.
Every time we are confronted with moving forward, we are also confronted with allowing someone else to stay where they are. (Transformational Coaching Method 2019 (Health Coach Institute)).
Over the last couple of weeks of doing research I have found many people speaking and writing about this topic. They all had steps to follow on how to speak your truth. Below is my summary and conclusion of these steps:
Stop managing other people’s feelings. You are not responsible for them. You and I are not entitled to those feelings. Remember the earlier point I made, about being correct all the time, if you try to manage people’s feelings, you are creating their dialogue for them in your head, thus never actually hearing them. This is not a two way conversation. This is either you shutting them up by enforcing your ultimate correctness (your opinion!) or you withdrawing from all communication with them, neither bringing growth nor development and definitely no relationship building.
Stop trying not to upset people. In the process of pleasing people you will lose your authenticity and your self respect, never mind the other person’s respect for you. Remember people pleasing is NOT serving the person, a conversation for another day.
And that brings me to; be authentic, not correct. When we become so focused on winning or being right, we can no longer access our authenticity. Mike Robbins states: “When we let go of our attachment to the outcome of a conversation, what the other person thinks, and our erroneous obsession with always being right, we allow ourselves to get real”. (Mike Robbins - Speaking your truth to live a life of authenticity, 2021).
Speaking your truth is a statement, yes, but above all it is about opening a conversation, sharing thoughts, ideas and showing respect for the other person’s story.
Speaking your truth does bring out feelings in others, sometimes nice, sometimes not so nice. Remember to give these people time to absorb what you have said, be patient and keep the door open for calm adult discussions. This does not include a dangerous situation, make sure you are safe first.
People feel safe with you, when they know your values and beliefs. They might not agree, they might not like it, but there is safety in honesty, when we know where we stand with each other.
Learning to speak your truth inevitably makes you learn about yourself, who you are and what you stand for. Admitting truths about yourself and changing your life accordingly, is a tough part of the school of life, but keep up the hard work, because learning about your bravery, strength and resilience is not just empowering for your confidence, but joyous in growth.
In order for you to speak your truth effectively, both ownership and learning must be utilised together. You must own your truth, take full responsibility for speaking it and deal with the consequences. You can not just speak it and expect people to submit to it!
Learn everything about your truth, you can not speak your truth if you doubt it or don’t know all of it.
Respect and be kind to yourself during this learning curve and show the same to the people you speak to. You are not alone on the rollercoaster of learning the truth.
It is a journey of learning many different truths, many stages in your life will expose or reveal them to you. They won’t all come at the same time, like everything in life. You can not discover or learn everything at once, it is overwhelming. You learn and absorb as you develop and become ready. Once you have done the work and you live a specific truth (philosophy, moral, value or belief), you won’t have to or need to say the phrase, because it would be evident in your life.
My personal and business big six words I endeavour to live by everyday are - discover, develop and empower in truth, honesty and transparency. These six words form the foundation of my personal life and business, it underpins where I come from, when I speak my truth and deliver on my values and beliefs. I am not giving my judgement or critique, I am opening the door to discussion, free debate and sharing my humble insight to my story. I am doing this in the hope to understand, hear and listen to your story. When I speak my truth, I endeavour to create an atmosphere and environment of safety, so that we all can take part in the learn and growth journey, free from human judgement and expectation. I endeavour not to have to tell you that I have spoken my truth or even use the phrase anymore. I simply work on listening, contributing my philosophical framework or belief and encouraging as many conversations as possible.
...discover, develop and empower in truth, honesty and transparency...
Share your thoughts with me on this very important topic that affects us all.
Looking forward to receiving your email: firstname.lastname@example.org