As we wind down the month of June celebrating the diversity of Pride and getting ready to embrace Independence Day, I find myself in more than a few raw moments examining what it means to stand up for what we believe in and owning our truth.

Recently I’ve found myself in a place I rarely experience – I’ve been in an environment that is completely contradictory to my beliefs and my values.  It’s been a struggle as I’ve tried to navigate my own emotions and figure out how to effectively communicate as I’m massively triggered.

In the past, I would have deferred to biting my tongue, biding my time and figuring out how to escape before saying things I would regret, or missing the escape and saying things that I’ll eventually regret after feeling the satisfaction of saying them or perhaps sinking to being passive aggressive or even falling victim to my circumstances. 

Now, none of these approaches is an option. I’ve evolved. There’s more at stake – taking a stand for my personal truth and owning every aspect of myself.

I’m responsible for myself and honoring my truth.

I’ve spent a lifetime growing and ultimately cultivating an amazing community.  A wholehearted community who fully supports me, is aligned with important values, strives to continually grow and together we are a collective force for good in the world.   It’s the ultimate gift in my life and makes it easy to use my voice.

It also makes for a jarring dose of reality when I land in an environment of closemindedness, judgment, criticism, and ongoing negativity. While every ounce of my being wants to run for the hills, I believe in the hint of possibility that can be planted by staying put, standing my ground and using every one of my skills, gifts and talents to stretch into the discomfort to find a way to use my voice in hopes I can be heard.

I’m a hopeless possibilitarian.

Then I think about the brave men and women who have stood up for their beliefs to expand freedom in race, religion, gender identity and equality, marriage, and so much more. I think about what they risked to achieve what was important to not only them, but families, communities and countries. I think about the massive discomfort that coincides with taking a stand for what one most values and the potential consequences from taking the stand.

However, I am also painfully aware that this discomfort is nothing compared to the sense of self-violation for denying our personal truth.

When we have a belief, value or truth and disrespect it, we’re out of integrity with ourselves
.  When we don’t honor ourselves, even (especially) in the smallest moments, we chip away at our self-worth.  Over time, it has a cumulative destructive consequence on our well-being.

The importance of speaking your truth through challenging topics as we celebrate Pride month

So the question as we continue to grow is:

How do we take a stand for what matters in a way that can be heard by those who are not aligned with us and not inclined to even listen?

Here are some suggestions:


  • Start by leaning on compassion and empathy.
  • Turn up the courage and self-love to build up the honoring muscle.
  • Embrace curiosity over judgment.
  • Be respectfully honest.
  • Set some ground rules for discussing heavy topics and gain agreement in advance of the conversation.
  • Ask real questions to seek to understand.
  • Suggest alternative viewpoints to ease into conversation.
  • Ask for what you need.
  • Ask what the other person needs to be comfortable and willing to have an open, honest conversation about a volatile yet important topic.
  • Use your voice authentically, responsibly and respectfully.
  • Know when to stop the conversation.

Be a leader.

While this may not be easy, it is important.  Like anything in life worth learning, it’s a practice.  

As you continue to grow into expanding your voice and owning your truth, here are a few blog posts that can help you navigate your own path:

A reminder to be the light and shine using your gifts and talents in a world that needs your brilliance: click 👉 here

The Truth about Worthinesss: click 👉 here

How to effectively and powerfully use your voice: click 👉 here

Joan Jakel

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