Speaking Your Truth to Live a Life of Authenticity
Do you find it easier to talk about speaking your truth than actually doing it?
Speaking up and speaking your truth is an essential aspect of living a life of passion, fulfillment, and authenticity. However, we struggle to find ways to speak our truth for many of us, myself included.
Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend who told me a poignant and powerful story about speaking his truth. He was in a grocery store and saw a woman cruelly yelling at her kids.
He explained that he walked over to the woman and asked her to treat her children with kindness and love.
The woman responded by telling him to stick it up his “you-know-what,” grabbed her kids, and rushed out of the store.
My friend explained that he didn’t know if he did the wrong thing. He was scared, upset, and emotional. But, he also said, “Mike, when I walked away, I noticed something interesting. I wasn’t blaming anyone. However, since I spoke up,
I was at peace and not wasting any time or energy blaming anyone. I have no idea if what I said impacted that woman, but I don’t have to live with her. I have to live with myself.”
By Speaking Your Truth, You Open the Door to Freedom
What if we dared to speak up like that in all areas of life — our work, our relationships, our family, with people in public, and in general?
Imagine the freedom and power we would possess! It’s not at all about getting in people’s faces and challenging them, although sometimes it might take that form.
An important distinction to remember is the difference between our “opinions” and our “truth.”
We all have opinions — but remember: our opinions are not facts.
Our opinions are filled with righteous judgment and an arrogant sense that we’re “right,” and those who disagree with us are “wrong.”
But our “truth” runs much deeper than any of our opinions.
Truth is About How We Feel
Truth is not about being right. Truth is about how we feel and what is real for us. It’s about expressing what we think and feel in an authentic, vulnerable, and transparent way.
We are all entitled to our own opinions.
For example, I might have an opinion that you are rude. I might even have evidence of things you did in the past that were rude. My truth about this, though, might be that I worry you will hurt my feelings, or I don’t like some of the things you do, which make me feel unsafe and uncomfortable around you.
When we let go of being “right” about our opinions and take responsibility for our experience, we can speak our truth from a much deeper and more authentic place.
Speaking this deeper truth will not only liberate us, but it has the potential to make a difference for others and bring us closer together with them.
How Do We Enhance and Deepen Our Capacity to Speak Our Truth With Kindness, Love, and Authenticity?
There are lots of things we can do to accomplish this — here are three to think about.
Stop Managing Other People’s Feelings
When we try to manage other people’s emotions, we use it as a cop-out not to speak our truth.
When we let go of taking care of others in a condescending way, it frees us and them up to have adult conversations, which sometimes can get a little sticky or tense when we’re speaking our truth.
Be Real, Not Right
I wrote a whole article about this — click here to read it.
When we focus on winning or being right, we no longer can access the deepest places within our hearts, which is where our real truth comes from.
When we let go of our attachment to the outcome of a conversation, what the other person thinks, and our erroneous obsession with always having to be right, we allow ourselves to get real.
Being vulnerable and transparent are the key elements of speaking your truth and not dominating the conversation and the person we’re talking to.
Like anything and everything else in life, the best way to get better, deepen our capacity, and grow is to practice.
Will you mess it up? Of course! Will you say the wrong things sometimes? Yes! Will people get upset, offended, or defensive at times? Absolutely. It is not about being perfect. It is about being yourself and speaking authentically.
Have empathy and compassion with yourself as you practice — this is not easy for most of us.
Remember that each situation is always new and different.
Speaking your truth is not always going to be easy — but it will be worth it.
Speaking up can be incredibly scary and challenging for us. Even if your legs shake, your voice quivers, or your heart races (all of which usually happen when we get real and vulnerable) — take a deep breath, dig down for the courage you have within you, and be willing to speak your truth.
When we do this, we can watch our relationships and lives literally transform.
Where in your life are you not speaking your truth, and what are you willing to do about that? Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more on my blog.
I have written five books about the importance of trust, authenticity, appreciation, and more. In addition, I deliver keynotes and seminars (both in-person and virtually) to empower people, leaders, and teams to grow, connect, and perform their best. Finally, as an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence, I teach techniques that allow people and organizations to be more authentic and effective. Find out more about how I can help you and your team achieve your goals today. You can also listen to my podcast here.
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This article was published on September 15, 2009, and has been updated for 2021.