What is at risk in speaking your truth?
Whether we look through the view of building a conscious business, intimate relationships or spiritual transformation, one of the basic tenets for living an authentic life is through allowing our immediate experience and life to be our teacher. It begins with understanding and learning to witness the beliefs, thoughts and triggers we see the world through as a gateway into expanding our capacity to be present and authentic.
Robert Bly, the poet, speaks of a little black bag that we start our life with. He says, “In our early years we wear this bag on our belt like a small pouch. Over time, we collect painful experiences and stuff our feelings into this pouch. As the years pass it grows so large we find our enormous black sack getting caught in the elevator door as it closes behind us.” We carry this invisible weight around with us and make choices based on our past experience, conditioning and perception of the world.
A conscious conversation begins with ourselves…..
Why do people hesitate to speak their truth? What my client’s often say is, “I am reluctant to speak what is true for me because it may risk my connection with important relationships at work or home.” This creates an apparent dilemma; ‘If I speak my truth I may jeopardize this important connection. If I don’t speak what is true for me I disconnect from myself.’ Another response I hear is, “No one ever listened to me when I was young so now I make sure everyone knows what I think.” From the outside, they are speaking what they think, but is it really what is most true for them or are they protecting something more vulnerable?
How different would life be if you were willing to have your own experience and share what is most true for you? Yes, even in the middle of a business meeting! If you’re like many of us, speaking our truth can sometimes be very elusive or our delivery can be sharp because we feel caught in apparent dilemmas. It can be difficult to stay present to our immediate experience and take the next step of sharing this with others. Why? A primary reasons I witness in myself and with my clients is:
Attachment to an identity or roles:
What do I mean by identity? I’m referring to something we’ve innocently created to protect ourselves and create a sense of safety. For me, one identity I created as a child was to be the ‘responsible & good girl’. It became a role I played in order to stay connected to the people in my life. It was too great a risk to speak my truth and feel like a burden, lazy, rejected or ostracized. Little did I know that I was cloistering myself into a dark den and forgetting that my experience was just as valid as everyone else! And, even more so when the experiences differed.
As a result of creating this identity I forfeited my voice and unconsciously reinforced this strategy so I could feel a sense of belonging. I chose belonging to ‘other’ over belonging to everything. A perfect recipe for sadness, anger, disconnect and resentment. I share this example to paint a picture of one of thousands of ways we unconsciously cling to an identity to avoid the risk of something that appears to be more important than our authenticity.
Is there a identity or specific role you play that keeps you feeling confined and out of integrity with your genuine expression?
Often times, until we begin an inner investigation, we aren’t yet aware of the underbelly of ‘perceived risks’ that drive us to blurt our opinions in a defensive manner or quietly stay inside a confined box of protection that we outgrew long ago. When we begin this investigation we start to unravel the ridiculous paradox.
It takes great courage to slow down enough to notice our patterns and then take a deeper dive to uncover all the hidden feelings about what is ultimately at risk. These moments are priceless opportunities to inquire more deeply to the root of what is keeping us internally frustrated or confused.
If this piques your interest, what steps would you like to take to investigate an identity that keeps you playing the ‘game’? What type of support would help you with your inquiry? Writing, a specific person, dancing…
If you decide to play, I’d love to hear what you discover. I feel we are all in this together and we have so much to share and teach one another by exploring how we show up in the world!