I’ve heard that phrase many times, usually in the context of someone telling their beliefs based on their lived experience. Sometimes it is rephrased as ‘speaking truth to power.’
That doesn’t mean that the facts are ignored. First, their lived experience is a fact. Also, the person may call upon other sources to strengthen the validity of their beliefs.
I reflected on the act of speaking my truth and what that meant to me. These are the conclusions I came to. As usual, towards the end of the Blog, I have what I call the B.O.A.T. moment – ‘Bit Of A Think.”
- I try to say what’s on my mind while being respectful.
- I’m ok to feel the way I do.
- I try to be clear and honest about my desires and wishes.
- I try not to be afraid of saying something that others may disagree with.
That’s quite a mouthful.
Being respectful in a conversation is not to make the focus of my truth personally directed to other people. The old-fashioned “I“ statements are good. I listen for the “you“ word and check if I was slipping into it being too directed. Also, what share of air time was I taking relative to all the listeners?
How I feel is exactly how I should feel; sad, disappointed, angry or guilty. That doesn’t mean I want to stay in that state, but at that moment, it is the exact feeling I should have. Well-meaning friends sometimes try to reassure me with an “oh, you shouldn’t feel that way.” I do feel that way at that moment – yet I may not want to stay in the feeling, and I take their input as a light I should consider heading towards – with thanks.
I think of the long bumper sticker that says, “if you loved me, you’d know,” and add, “if you loved me, you wouldn’t have me guess.” So, I try to be sure of the clarity of what I’m saying. It’s bad enough to get into something I said and intended without getting into an argument about something I didn’t say or mean.
Diversity is one of the buzzwords we now live with, along with having to pivot. Whatever happened to just changing our plans – but that’s another rabbit hole for another day. I try not to speak every opinion or truth I have. There are times in conversations when viewpoints are being offered. I offer mine. I don’t fret about them being different. They often are because of the quirky way I see the world.
I’m curious about your thoughts. What additional railings do you put up that strengthen the four I’ve listed? Are there any times you wished you had spoken up, or not spoken up? Are there family gatherings in which avoiding certain topics is the best plan?
Please share your bit of a think below.
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2 thoughts on “Speaking My Truth”
As kids we’ve all been drilled – never tell a lie. But we do. It’s human nature. I’m not talking about big lies. I’m talking about lies that protect people’s feelings. Like when your co-worker asks you what your opinion is of her new dress and you tell her it’s beautiful (truthfully you don’t like it). But we don’t have the heart to say the truth. We do this all the time to protect the other person’s feelings. It all depends on who you’re speaking to. Do you open up with your best friend and say the truth more to him or her than you would with someone not as close? A lot depends on how comfortable we feel about the other person. Can they handle hearing something that doesn’t fit their beliefs? Can we respect each other’s differences of opinion without upsetting the relationship? Sometimes it’s a balancing act.
There other situations where we speak our mind and tell “our truth,” even if the person or people who are listening might not agree. Speaking the truth is always freeing as long as it’s done with respect for others. I like the cliche “agree to disagree” so that everyone can speak their truth without any hurt feelings.
There are many situations where I wish I had spoken up and said the truth but they’re hard to remember.
There was one experience I will never forget. I was studying at York U. and decided to switch my major from Sociology to Fine Arts. I applied late and was told that my portfolio of art pieces had better be high calibre! That was coming from the administrative secretary.
The day came to show the director my work. I spread it out on the table and he looked at each piece, hardly saying a word. (The silence was killing me). I wanted to know his opinion and he finally gave it. He said “If I gave you two colours of paint and asked you to express an emotion, I don’t think you’d know what to do!” In other words, he didn’t think I could think outside the box and create something abstract. That’s true because I didn’t care for abstract art. I kind of wanted to say “Okay, give me the paint and I’ll show you emotion!” But I didn’t say anything. I let it go.
The funny thing is, I wasn’t hurt or offended. He spoke his truth. He was being honest. I didn’t fit the mold and it didn’t bother me one bit. It was probably a blessing in disguise!
I think certain “truths” hurt (whether they’re justified or not). It’s a blow to one’s ego to hear something that doesn’t boost our moral. That’s when it’s good to soften the truth with constructive criticism, say a lie (if your intentions are not selfish) or not say anything at all.
Truth is an elusive word except when it comes to our feelings. If we’re happy, sad, angry, excited – they’re all real individual feelings. I agree with you – we own them and we have every right to express them. No-one should say ‘oh you shouldn’t feel like that.’
If we’re talking about our personal beliefs, and opinions that’s a whole different ball game. Truth on its own is valued by all people but not all people believe in the same truth. One’s religious and educational background has a lot to do what they believe is true or not. The media and political influences affect how we think and form opinions. We’re bound to have different beliefs and that’s okay.
Thanks for such an extensive and thoughtful response. No lie! I love how folks take a few moments to reflect on the topics I Blog about.