In the days of inspirational quotes plastered all over social media and a booming self-help industry, the idea of speaking your truth can easily fall into the overused, buzzword category pretty quickly. On Google, the search "speak your truth" returns over 400,000 hits and the tag #speakyourtruth has over 36,000 results on Instagram. This is obviously something we are talking about! But what does it mean? Why does it matter so much? And how exactly do we speak our truth?
Well let's start with definitions. Generally, to speak your truth, you must:
Be compassionate to yourself and others
Name what is true, even if it is scary or hard
Remember your identity is not rooted in how other people respond to your truth
Each component is incredibly important, and all four need to occur together. If one is omitted, the truth-telling is ineffective at best, and harmful at worst. (We've all had that moment where someone says something really hurtful and follows it with "I'm just being honest." Speaking your truth does not mean being a jerk.)
So why does this matter so much? Why are yoga instructors and mental health professionals and life coaches and dietitians and everyone else telling you to engage in this act of vulnerable truth-telling?
When you speak your truth,
you are more engaged in your relationships
you can reach professional goals you thought impossible
you set more appropriate boundaries for your time and resources
you can be your whole self, appreciating and accepting all the parts of you, even the ones you tend to push away
At the core of speaking your truth is an opportunity to step into your full potential, to step away from whatever it is that holds you back. Maybe it is fear, or anxiety, or worry about finances or judgment or rejection. Maybe it is a life story with a theme of not good enough, or just work harder, or come back when you are less emotional. Most of us can identify with at least one of these, and the way to stop these from holding you back is to speak your truth.
Jessica Leigh Lyons wrote a helpful article last year titled How to Speak Your Truth. In it, she outlined six steps for speaking your truth. I believe all six are incredibly important, and would encourage you to read the whole thing. Her fifth point is to find a partner in your truth-telling journey, someone who will see you and support you and when necessary, challenge you. She points out this is better left to a therapist, coach or other healing professional rather than a friend or partner,and I agree with her. Our friends and family often struggle with their own truth-telling, and may have difficulty giving us the push we need, when we need it.
I would encourage you to find someone to join you on your truth-telling journey, and begin the work of being your whole self. It is overwhelming at times, but living the life you have always wanted to live is worth it.
And if you need some truth-telling inspiration, follow Glennon Doyle Melton and Anne Lamott. These women are two of my favorite truth-tellers.