We all want our feelings and needs to be acknowledged. We all want to know that we are valued, we matter, and we are recognized for the person we truly are. But to be fully seen and heard, we must be willing to speak up and express our truth.
How often do you say “yes” when truthfully you want to say “no”? When someone asks for your opinion, do you reply with “I don’t mind”? Are there times, at work or in a social setting, when you want to say something but you hold back from contributing? If any of these sound familiar, then you are choosing not to speak your truth. Do not judge yourself for this. Most of us have been conditioned to not listen to our own needs and to prioritize being agreeable instead of being honest and true to ourselves.
We withhold our truth for fear of being judged. Fear of upsetting other people. Fear of not fitting in. The outcome is we navigate life, relationships, and work feeling anxious, frustrated, and uncertain of how people will interpret and respond to how we express ourselves. Choosing to speak your truth takes courage and practice, but the reward is authenticity, empowerment, and freedom.
When you speak your truth, you honor and respect the deeper relationship you have with yourself. It is an expression of the self-knowledge you have developed. It is rooted in knowing and accepting who you are and knowing your purpose and core values. Speaking your truth is not about proffering your opinions as judgment and fact or right over wrong. Your truth, as opposed to ‘the truth’, is not about being right. It is about how you feel, how you experience life, and what you value.
Speaking your truth is simply being able to express your boundaries, desires, needs, and values in an honest, gracious, and transparent way. It comes from the heart space, not the egoic mind, and is a way of sharing who you are with the world and teaching others how you wish to be treated. When we muster the courage to use our voice, tell our stories of experience, and speak freely from a place of authenticity, we create an opportunity for deeper connection and understanding that is otherwise not available to us when we hold our words.
You must get comfortable with fully owning responsibility for speaking your truth. You must let go of trying to manage other people’s feelings and reactions. The reality is you cannot control how others may react to your words. You can only know and understand your own emotions, your own experiences, your own choices, and your own values. When you stop focusing on the need to take care of others and let go of your attachment to the outcome of the conversation, you will feel empowered to have an open and far richer conversation, free from tension and unease.
If you want others to hear your truth and respect your boundaries, first you must know what your truth is. Only then can you consciously step into the power that self-knowledge gives you. You must be clear on your core values since they are the compass to your inner truth. Ask yourself:
Where have I betrayed my truth to protect myself?
When do I most feel like myself and when do I feel disconnected?
What emotions and values are being expressed and felt when I am being myself?
What brings me joy and what makes me feel uneasy?
What is important to me in my relationships?
What do I need to feel free in my life?
Owning our truth gives us the confidence to say “no” more often without feeling guilty. Tune into your inner voice and intuition when someone asks something of you. Say “no” where that feels right for you. Honoring your truth is a powerful sign that you value yourself above pleasing other people. A truthful “no” to something that places unnecessary stress on you, that does not bring fulfillment or is emotionally draining is how you set healthy boundaries to protect your energy and peace.
On the flip side, speaking our truth can unleash a whole new confidence to say “fuck yeah!” to things that we previously shied away from for fear of not wanting to stand out and be judged. When we use our authentic voice, we allow ourselves to share our creativity, ideas, and passions with those around us and contribute to the world. Our truth communicates who we are. It is an honest expression of our growth, unique gifts, and self-belief. It frees us to be emboldened, to celebrate who we are and to have more fun.
When you are living authentically and speaking your truth, sure, there will still be awkward moments and people will not always be receptive to your words, but for the most part, you are living with more peace and less guilt, more power and self-confidence, more freedom and energy, more clarity and presence. You will create a deeper connection to yourself and have better relationships with the important people in your life.
Like with anything in life, the best way to improve and grow is to practice. Speaking your truth is no different. You will stumble at times and feel uncomfortable. You will say the wrong thing on occasion. People will be offended or defensive at times. It is not about being perfect. It is about being authentically you and speaking up to honor that truth. Be patient and keep practicing. Begin to esteem your own inner voice above that of culture, society, and other people.
Only by speaking your truth can you present your version of your story and no one else’s and that is where empowerment and freedom lies. Use your voice. Express your truth because it is the most powerful tool you have.