Speaking your truth... even when your voice shakes...
Last week was momentous for me. If you didn't see it already, I launched my Podcast, Unravelling, and it felt both terrifying and exciting all mixed up in one cocktail of emotions.
I have always found it easy to write - and actually to write very openly and express my true feelings using words. In fact, I have hidden a little bit behind my words at times because they feel far less daunting than to say them out loud. So to actually SPEAK about things that I am passionate about, and have people listen to them - is a whole other ball game.
For some it might be surprising that speaking would bring so much fear - as I was always such a chatterbox - however I have felt myself get quieter and quieter over the years, partly because some of the feelings and experiences I have been through are not 'the kind of things' that you are 'supposed' to talk about.
As children we are told to be seen and not heard. There has also been, over the years, a silencing of women and a hushing of their mouths. We have had to fight to express ourselves in many ways and there are many societal conditionings that lead many of us to shutting down our voice out of fear or shame.
I used to use my voice to draw attention to myself.
At school I was constantly reprimanded for talking too much, I was often told I needed to think more before I spoke, and I was nicknamed 'Squeak' on the bus because I had such a high pitched voice that could always be heard.
Over the years speaking gradually became more of my enemy than a way to communicate. It became something I was self conscious of. My words. The sound of my voice. My worthiness to be heard. I believed I had nothing of interest to say to people, that they didn't want to hear from me, and instead of being the confident extroverted character that had always found it easy to open up a conversation - I began to feel shy and awkward in social situations.
Stepping out of that bubble into my truth
So, launching a podcast has made me face up to all of those fears. What if people don't like what I say? What if people find me annoying? What if I really have nothing interesting to say and people are bored? Will people think that I am conceited for expecting others to listen to my ramblings?
Each time these little doubtful voices show up, I have to find a way to navigate through them. It is a constant practice.
For me, I have had to peel back many layers of conditioning to really delve into the depths of who I really am. That sounds pretty deep I know - and I guess it is - however it is the only way I have been able to rediscover a natural alignment in my life.
When I think about what 'being in my truth' means to me, I think of the quote... 'Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you were supposed to be?'
These words sum it up - because we cannot fail to be influenced by people and the world around us.
It is about staying curious enough to question whether the way we are showing up in our life is really part of our true essence, or is it because we think we 'should' behave a certain way?
Misalignment of truth
When I am not being true to myself, I feel irritated, frustrated, overwhelmed, trapped, heavy, uncomfortable, drained, anxious... I feel as though there is something 'icky' that I have to deal with. That feeling as though something is 'not right' - but I can't always put my finger on it exactly. Do you know what I mean?
Meanwhile, when I am being true to myself it feels effortless, graceful, joyful, fun, exciting, energising. I feel comfortable in my own skin and there is no need to wear a mask or cover up parts of myself. I feel free and unrestricted. How often do you feel like that?
All the time we are living from a non truthful place, and we are not expressing this truth, there will be endless battles and struggles. Which is why, I think, so many of us (me included) shut down and numb out from our emotions. We know deep down that these little niggles are trying to tell us something but we block them out because often we don't really want to hear them. They aren't part of the 'plan', or they don't fit in to what is expected of us.
Dealing with the honest truth is sometimes too scary to face.
What does being truthful mean to you?
To me, my truth is the essence of who I am. The stripped back version.
It means being clear on my values - in all areas of my life.
It means being brave enough to have empowering, but sometimes difficult conversations.
It means standing up for something I believe in and expressing it, even if you know that others may not have the same beliefs.
It means being very, very clear and honest about what our personal boundaries are.
It means sometimes having to confront others (compassionately) when these boundaries have been crossed.
It is honouring ourselves throughout the process. And that means honouring both the light fluffy joyful parts of ourselves, and the darker, slightly less 'polished' parts of ourselves.
It is not having to put on a brave face when I am hurting, yet not inflicting my pain on others.
It is not having to mould myself to be something that I am not.
It is one thing to know your truth within, but quite another to put that expression out into the big wide world.
It starts by being honest to yourself...
I recently listened to a podcast and on it someone asked... 'Are you being honest in your own journal?' and that really hit home to me. If there is something you are not admitting to your own private journal, and to yourself, then you are certainly not going to be able to express that to other people.
So get really honest with yourself first. Ask yourself if you are hiding away from your own truth? And even when that truth is scary to face, write it down and explore it - let the feelings come up and get curious with them.
When resistance occurs (and it will), get curious...
So often we find ourselves going down the same path again and again, and when you look closely it is mainly down to us having a belief about a certain situation. When it comes specifically to speaking your truth - there are often many fears around what others will think of us - and these can stem from experiences in the past that we base our assumptions on.
Ask yourself - is this belief true? Is it fact? Or is it actually something that you have just habitually taken on? Simply by acknowledging whether something is in fact a truth or just a limiting belief can give you the courage to change the record!
Is holding back on speaking this truth causing you harm?
Sometimes holding on to the truth and not expressing it can be very harmful to your emotional wellbeing. It can fester and lay stagnant within you and cause so much unrest. If you are feeling frustrated, irritable and uncomfortable - is there a truth you are not expressing that may be bringing your energy down?
You may feel that you need to protect someone else from hurting feelings or letting someone down - however if it is causing you harm in any way, then perhaps there is a way that you can find a kind way to express it for everyone involved - yourself included!
Surround yourself with truthful people
Ensuring that you have a circle of trusted friends who you can speak openly and honestly with is vital. Entrusting your truth to others is one of the most powerful ways to free your mind from the constant turmoil of holding on to it.
Whether it is a friend, a therapist, a coach or a family member, surround yourself with people who love you for your honest truth - they don't have to have the same beliefs that you do - and in fact they may well even challenge you at times - but open communication with others who are also unravelling their truth is potent.
You will instinctively know who is open to hearing your truth, and who perhaps isn't quite ready for the unedited version!
The truth doesn't have to hurt, but sometimes it does.
The fact is, sometimes the truth can sting, and most of us don't want to cause suffering in any way - of course we don't. But, there are times when it is essential to be truthful. When I coach people I have to be very brave at times in terms of helping a client face up to something they are perhaps not quite admitting to themselves. But this can always be done from a place of love.
I always come back to the question, 'what would love do'?', 'How would love handle this'?' When you speak your truth with pure compassion, and from a powerfully considered intention, then it will have a much more resonant impact than if you simply throw your words out without consideration.
If you are still unsure whether speaking truthfully is right at that moment, you can question yourself further... 'Is it kind? Is it necessary?' If the response is driven by an ego inspired response then perhaps this isn't really your truth after all. Be honest with yourself as to the intention behind this truth.
Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes...
Your voice may well quiver, your heart may well beat fast, you may very well feel adrenalin pumping and an urge to run away from this truth. That to me is natural, but that to me also signifies a courageous act and speaking your truth can take guts.
However, once expressed there will be a sense of lightness as you unburden yourself. And the more free you are of things that weigh you down, the more space you create for aligned joyful experiences.
In my next blog I will explore some of the physical ways you can open up your voice and speak your truth more confidently. But for now I think I have given you enough to think about!