Our soul’s voice will not speak unless there is an ear to hear it. It will only be audible if we are listening ~ Terry Patten
Speaking truth has the potential to move the needle of deep connection toward sincere communication from the heart. It can also create scary but ultimately necessary changes in life.
The last post talked about the importance of accessing your inner honesty as the most significant ‘first step’ for living in integrity. Now, knowing what is authentic for you, how do you put that truth out into the world? What does it takes to actually speak your truth so that it is clearly and accurately heard? What does it take to speak your truth as an invitation to join in meaningful dialogue with another?
Surprising ways that you don’t speak honestly
When you edit what you say or outright lie about what you are feeling; when you decide not to discuss what is very important to you; when you embellish the truth or create drama around what you say; when you choose not to confront behaviours and choices of loved ones or friends that concern you; when you stuff down your anger or resentment just to keep the peace; when you speak without actually being in touch with what you are really feeling or thinking; or when you say yes to something when you really mean no – you are choosing the path of dishonest speech.
Why being honest can be hard to do:
The need to feel loved and accepted can be a barrier to speaking with honesty.
Fear of being vulnerable and exposed to judgment can stop you from putting your truth ‘out there’.
Holding back and not fully sharing can satisfy a need to pump up your ego. If you know something another doesn’t, you feel a sense of being better than them, which can falsely increase low self-esteem.
Having a fear that your honesty might cause a change in relationships and situations with others. Even if the present is unhappy, it is a ‘known’. Change is unknown and truth can change others’ view of you.
Speaking up feels threatening to your security because it means reaching out past your sense of being alone and isolated.
Belief that nothing you say has any value. Again, silence is your safe place.
Tips for speaking honestly:
- Be mindful that what you share is at peace with what you are actually feeling
- Don’t just share for the sake of having the stage. Discern when the time is right to speak your truth. (This is not editing but conscious sharing)
- Be kind and heart-based in your delivery of truth and ensure you are clear that what you say is not ‘universal truth’ but only what is true from your vantage point.
- Remove negativity, blame and accusations from your language as you share.
- Be respectful of mutual mind/body/spiritual availability. If possible, pick a good time to share.
- Build in spaces for genuine dialogue so that sharing honesty is a two-way street.
You have the power to change superficial exchanges into meaningful communication. Making room for honesty in speech with others can go a long way to generating true closeness and deep love. When you have the courage to be gut-honest with others, it develops mutual trust, inner peace and ultimately grows a greater happiness quotient in your life.
When you can share your truth and stand alone if necessary to say what matters to you without being influenced by others, you have taken your integrity to the next level.
Consider how honestly you speak. Look over the lists above and commit to practicing the actions that will bring you closer to speaking your truth, ‘even if your voice shakes’.
Whatever is held and listened to will show us where it lives in the world and in us ~ Mark Nepo