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 you believe in to speak your 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 through the triggers.
In the past, I would have deferred to biting my tongue or figuring out how to escape before saying something I would regret. Sometimes, I missed the escape and said things that I eventually regretted after feeling the satisfaction of saying them. At my least effective, I sunk to being passive aggressive or 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.
It’s my responsibility to speak my truth.
I’ve spent a lifetime growing and ultimately cultivating an amazing community. A wholehearted community who fully supports me. A community aligned with my values. We strive to continually grow and be a collective force for good in the world. My community is a true gift in my life and they make it easier for me 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, leaning into my discomfort and using my voice in a way it 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.
So the question as we continue to grow is:
How do you effectively speak your truth?
How do you take a stand for what matters in a way that can be heard by those who are not aligned with you 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 (Click the title to access post):
- Speak Your Truth – Mastering Communication in Challenging Circumstances - July 1, 2023
- Live Life on Your Terms – Break Free from Conditioning - June 21, 2023
- Are You Letting Your Circumstances Define You? - June 15, 2023