My Tuesday meditation group has been working on a very tough but important practice of "Speaking Your Truth." Many of the participants in the group are in what is called Jubilee time, around the age of 50, and having sent their children off to college are rediscovering what they have to offer the world (beyond the courage act of parenting). These women are strong, intelligent, compassionate and kind. They have so much to offer, but it requires our being able to speak our truths!
The lesson of speaking your truth is one that we can ask at any age. Speaking your truth doesn't mean running around town blabbing about local gossip, or chattering about the latest fashions and who looks good in what, nor is it casually commenting about the weather over a glass of wine. Speaking your truth is a practice that requires mindfulness, integrity, strength and compassion.
When speaking your truth one must do so with utmost care. Is it hurtful? Is it timely? Is it necessary? Many things are true that don't need to be said, or don't need to be said immediately. On other occasions something will need to be said that may hurt someone, but by speaking our truth to someone we can actually honor them and their integrity.
But, how do we share our truth? Here are a few things I like to remind myself:
1. Compassion: Am I coming from a place of compassion? Is my investment in what I have to say for personal benefits or for a greater good? Is it to help gain clarity or to cause injury? When we speak from a place of compassion, we take care with the words we use. We take care that we are clear while still speaking from the heart.
2. Expectations: What do I expect in return? This is the tricky one for me. When we speak our truth we give the other person (people) the right to react in whatever way they may. They might agree, but that is not a given. That person might lash out in return if they do not have skill or experience in nonviolent communication. That person has the right to react in anyway, because that is their right as a person with inherent dignity and integrity. When we remember that, we can detach from the outcome more readily.
We all have the potential to change the world, and speaking our truth is our opportunity to do so with a sense of clarity and purpose that is grounded in loving kindness. We get to speak our truth to ourselves, to those we love and to those who challenge us. We aren't always perfect in our attempts to speak our truth. It takes practice, and we stumble over our words a lot and get ensnared in our personal misperceptions. But, if our intention is for good, then we will get better and with time we get clearer for ourselves and others. We can speak out for justice, for peace, for understanding, for love.
Are you ready to practice speaking your truth?