Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Speaking Our Truth

 A wise minister once said something that stuck with me, "Speak the truth with love".

Speaking our truth with love is expressing our needs, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings in a way that is honest and respectful to ourselves and others. The words we say and how we choose to say them makes a huge difference in how they're received by others.

When we find ourselves in a situation that feels out of place for us, we need to be able to step away and say, "no thank you". We shouldn't judge or be offensive in expressing ourselves, but we do have the right and responsibility to withdraw our support and energy from things that are not right for us or harm us and others. When we stay with things that we know don't fit us, we become miserable. Sometimes we fail to act until the pain of staying in a place that we don't belong is worse than the fear of speaking our truth. And then we speak our truth in an explosion, and not usually with love.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” ~Anais Nin

Speaking the truth with love is not easy. I've heard plenty of people speaking their truth, but it often comes out in a blaring-in-your-face kind of way. That feels offensive and is ultimately ineffective, because no one wants to be spoken to in that manner and people stop listening. If we find ourselves shouting our truth, we need to step back and review it, because when we explode like that, it usually means we're being defensive and it might not be truth at all.

Speaking our truth with love takes courage and consideration. It requires raw honesty with ourselves, defining our needs well enough to stand firm in them, and then actively working to find a way to lovingly and respectfully express them. Speaking our truth in love means change will follow because we've come to something in our life that doesn't resonate with who we are and what we believe is right. If we mustered up the courage to speak it, we have gotten to the point where change is needed.

And when we start making changes, there will be resistance. Change is uncomfortable. Most of us would rather suffer silently in the comfort zone than make waves and disrupt the peace, even when we know at our core that something is wrong and that there really was no peace in the first place.

And there are times that despite how clearly and lovingly we phrase something, we can still feel like we're not being truly heard and we're greeted with a harsh response. It can leave us reeling and questioning what we could have done or said differently.

Every person has a different experience on this planet. When we communicate with one another, we operate under the assumption that someone can understand exactly what we mean. We are each unique genetically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly, experientially. No two of us understand life in the exact same way, because of our individual experiences and perceptions. And frankly, at times, words are woefully inadequate to express what we mean.

So someone can speak their truth in love, and we can still receive it in offense, because our life experiences define our interpretation of what they said. In other words, we filter it through our ego, which is quite the opposite of love. We seem to take the stance that if someone decides to walk away from something, we assume that they think we're idiots for sticking around. Our egos get in there and make us hear that "they think they're better than us" or, "they're saying my way/thoughts/beliefs/feelings are wrong", even though that's not what they said nor meant at all. We receive through our egos, a lot. And way too often. I've done it plenty of times myself.

The only thing I truly have control over is me - my thoughts, my words, and my actions. I can't control how other people receive those. I can only make my best effort to express myself lovingly, and then I need to let go of it and move forward. It's none of my business what other people think of me. If I know in my heart that I have done the best I can to think, speak, and act in love whenever possible, then I have lived authentically and have no regrets. What someone else thinks of me is truly about them, and not me at all. They are judging through the lenses of their own life and not mine.

Someone who is stuck in fear and uncertainty will not be able to receive in love, no matter how tenderly something is said or done. We can express ourselves openly and clearly and with as much love as we can, and sometimes, people still can't truly hear us. And we'll need to keep moving forward anyway, because when we realize that continuing to do the same thing over and over doesn't serve us, or worse, is harmful to us or others, we have to make a change.

We are diverse, logical, and creative thinkers, and it behooves us as a species to listen to one another, especially when we differ. No one of us can come up with a solution to the world's problems. We need to do it together. If we shut down every time someone offers a different idea or opinion, we all lose.

Lies and pretending do not serve us. We are each unique beings, with our own experiences, beliefs, knowledge, and gifts. We will clash over opinions and decisions at times, and we will make a lot of mistakes. We need to be open to receiving someone else's truth and be able to speak our own truth without doing the aerobic miscommunications we are so good at: jumping to conclusions, hurling insults and judgments, and tossing out the baby with the bathwater.

Maybe we could try something new: speak to one another in honesty and love, and more importantly, open up with our hearts and listen in return. I think we can put the "kind" back in humankind. It's in there, just below our egos. If we can push ego aside for a few minutes, we can hear a lot better.

Love & Light,
Sue

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