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 close-mindedness, 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.

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 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):

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

The Truth about Worthiness

How to effectively and powerfully use your voice

Joan Jakel

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