Tag Archives: speaking truth

What if… your truth matters?

Walking on the edge of infinity she saw her life unravel like a river flowing endlessly into the sea.
Walking on the edge
of infinity
she saw her life
unravel
like a river
flowing endlessly
into the sea.

Mixed media on water colour paper
©2016 Louise Gallagher

A friend is telling me of a conversation they are afraid to initiate with a loved one. They are in pain. Feeling sad. Broken. Confused.

What is the worst that could happen if you have the conversation? I ask.

And they tell me of their fear that their loved one will get angry. Storm out. Deny. Refuse. Reject.

What is the worst that could happen if you don’t have the conversation? I ask next.

And their shoulders slump, their eyes close momentarily and they breathe a deep, sadness-tinged sigh and whisper, “Nothing will change.”

So often, we see a situation through the eyes of our fear of what the other will do, how they will respond or react when we speak up, challenge the status quo or ask for what we want. In our fixation on their behaviour, we forget to look at how  our feelings are the result of our silence, not someone else’s behaviour. How our silence is the thing that is trapping us in the place of inaction and inertia, keeping us stuck in believing ‘there is no point’, no hope, no possibility of different. In our silence, we put power and control in the hands of another, and blame them for making us feel… less than, bad, helpless…

When I let go of blaming another for my feelings, I give myself the grace to turn up for me. I allow my courage to draw me out of confusion and drive fear away.

When I turn up, pay attention, lovingly speak my truth and stay unattached to the outcome, I am powerful beyond my wildest imaginings. In that place of surrendering my fear and turning up in courage, anything is possible. Hearts can break down walls, close gaps in understanding and break-through to clarity, connectedness and commitment. In that place, I am free to be me without fearing my truth is not allowed, my needs not acceptable, my dreams not worthy.

What if, I asked my friend, you chose to break your silence to invite the other to step into a sacred circle of love where truth-telling does not wound and is so powerful it draws you ever closer together?

What if, you accepted your truth matters? It is as important, relevant, necessary as another’s?

What if, you believed you have the right to speak up? Ask for what you want? Be present?

What if, you believed you are worthy? What would you do differently?

What if, we all believed we are worthy of speaking our truth and living this one precious life as if every life matters, every voice counts, every truth makes a difference and has the capacity to make the world a better place?

What would we do differently?

 

Truth is not a weapon.

Truth is not a weapon I wield like a sword, chopping down those who oppose me.

Truth is where I stand in my heart, allowing all things to be as all things are, without the need to make all things be my truth.

 

So often, we believe to have our truth heard, we must speak above others, drowning out their voices so only ours remains.

That is not truth-speaking.

For our truth to be heard, we must speak it in peace. Using our words kindly to create space for someone else to hear us, and for us to hear them.

Sometimes, truth can hurt. But it hurts much less when we take care to speak our truth with compassion, giving care to how the other will feel when the words we speak stand between us.

Are our words a barrier or a bridge?

Are they a minefield of discord or filled with a desire to find common ground?

Do our words pierce like an arrow or open minds to understanding one another’s hearts?

I was at a meeting yesterday where two years ago, the same people sitting around the table sat on opposite sides of the fence. To find common ground, we had to make room for all truths to stand without judgement. We had to allow space for our opposing views to be heard without fear of being drowned out in the anger and fear of our differing perspectives and understanding of what had happened. We had to listen to what ‘the other’ had to say about what had gone wrong, and what wasn’t working without denying the truth of what was said.

In the process, we found room for all our views to co-exist. We found strength to bridge the gaps between our differing views to create a better everyone could live with and within.

There is truth in everything, yet not all things are true.

It is true, there is war in the world. Yet, the whole world is not engaged in war.

It is true, there is discrimination in the world. Yet, discrimination does not rule the whole world.

It is true, there is poverty. Yet, poverty is not true for everyone.

Until we hear all things without fearing ‘the truth’ of all things, we will not find the path to see and hear and feel what is true without fearing the other’s truth will prevail, take over, overcome what is true in our world.

Until we speak our truth, in peace, allowing love and compassion to soothe our words, our truth will be viewed by someone as untrue or unkind.

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”  ― Warren W. Wiersbe

Until our truth becomes the ground upon which we stand in love and harmony, our truth will be the weapon others use to stand apart.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

No matter what, speak with loving kindness and compassion

A friend asked me the other day if I am slow to anger or a quick outburst kind of person.

It takes a lot for me to move into anger, I told them. Generally, I’m able to recognize what’s mine and what’s not and figure out what I am powerful enough to effect, or not, and to let what I can’t change go. But, social injustice, mistreatment of people I care about, well, that’s another matter.

When my daughters were in  school they dreaded telling me anything untoward that may have happened in the classroom, especially if it involved a teacher calling them out or questioning their integrity. They knew I’d be there in a flash, flying in on my broom, sweeping away any obstacles that got in the way of my righting the wrong and setting the perpetrator straight. Years after graduating my youngest daughter told me she went so far as to log her cell phone number with the high school so that she could vet any calls. And I wondered why there were no parent/teacher interviews! 🙂

What I perceive to be social injustice is a hot bottom for me. I can deal with what I judge to be sheer stupidity — when people know better they do better.  I do not do well with unkindness and unfairness to others.

The same holds true in the workplace. I can handle heavy workloads, tight deadlines, sudden changes and even uncertainty in direction.

I do not do unfair treatment of fellow staff members well.

I have worked for many organizations where management claims people are their priority, that they are their greatest asset and always, their actions are the proof of the value and integrity of their words. And while I don’t think it is a hard tenet to live by — that people come first — I have found that many organizations struggle with walking the talk.

My challenge isn’t what other people are doing. It’s what am I doing about it? Am I aligned with my values and principles or am I off-side? Am I walking my talk or taking a side-trip to the land of no integrity?

I believe people, all people, deserve to be treated with integrity, fairness and kindness. I believe it is a measure of my worth how I respect other people’s worth. I have the right to my anger, I do not have the right to be cruel because, no matter the circumstances, I am always responsible for how I express anger and fear or any kind of emotion.

I am 100% responsible and accountable for me and I trust you to be 100% responsible and accountable for you.

And here’s the rub, sometimes, I forget about trusting in the responsibility and accountability of the other party. Sometimes, I think it’s all up to me. Sort of like how I used to believe I was responsible for starving children around the world and women being raped in war-torn lands. I think I need to fix it all.

I am not that powerful.

My job is to be true to me. To walk my talk. To stand in my values and principles and know that I am aligned. It’s not about judging your values and principles, it’s about recognizing where I am compromising or undermining mine and acknowledging what I’m willing to do to bring myself back into alignment — and then to do it.

I have been struggling with a situation in my life that is not sitting well with me.

It’s not about what other’s are doing. People will do what people will do. It’s about what am I willing to do to speak up, to strive for better. Am I willing to engage in the conversation? Am I willing to step into the discord and speak my truth, fearlessly, lovingly, compassionately? Am I willing to walk my talk?

For me, it begins with acknowledging what lies heavy on my heart and being willing to step outside the comfort of silence to be heard. As I’ve written here before, my job is to turn up, pay attention, speak my truth and stay unattached to the outcome.

Not always easy when I am emotionally engaged in judging who’s right, who’s wrong and what they need to do to change. From where I stand in stubborn, self-righteous, indignation, there’s little room for honest conversation.

Time to get off my high horse and step onto terra firma where I am grounded in the truth that my experience begins with me. To have my best experience I must let go of judgements and speak up with loving kindness and compassion.

 

Speaking the Truth is not always a cake walk

On the second weekend of the Choices journey, (Givers 1) we talk about the 6 points of power:

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Speak the Truth
  3. Be Responsible for YOUR Life (be accountable)
  4. Ask for what you want
  5. Keep YOUR Agreements
  6. Create Value in ALL things

Speaking the Truth can be challenging. For me, the fear of rejection, my fear that someone won’t like me, or will be angry with what I have to say kept me from speaking up and standing comfortably with my boundaries intact. Because my boundaries used to be so weak and permeable, I continually compromised on my truth and subsequently, lived someone else’s truth. In that process, I became more fearful, not less.

For me, speaking my truth is about lovingly standing my ground without fearing the other person’s reactions. I am not responsible for how people respond. I trust myself to be responsible for and with my words. I trust others to be responsible as well. My trust is not based on their actions, but on my ability to discern how their words and actions affect me. When I respond negatively to someone, it is not a reflection of them. It is something in me that is creating that response. My responsibility is to honour what it is in me by taking appropriate action. It is my responsibility to be true to my values, principles and beliefs.

When I speak my truth, I do not have the right to hurt nor harm someone else. My truth is not a stick with which I bludgeon others. My truth is not a knife with which to spear someone else’s heart in order to open them up to me.

My truth is a reflection of me. How I speak it is a reflection of who I am, my values, principles and beliefs.

When I am angry, my truth reflects my emotion, not my being. I have the right to my anger, I never have the right to be cruel.

Several years ago I managed an organization where the principle was extremely abusive. He believed that it was okay to berate staff, to scream and yell for what he wanted, to threaten dire consequences when he didn’t get it.

I didn’t believe the same things.

For six months, I worked hard to keep staff from feeling the brunt of this man’s abusive behaviour. One of the things I did was organize a two day retreat with the core team to facilitate healing and communication. At the retreat, the principle committed to stop yelling, cursing and belittling staff. I committed to staying on board — with a caveat — if the behaviour continued, I would resign.

One day, shortly after the retreat, the principle started shouting and swearing at the staff in a meeting. I stood up and said, I do not accept this behaviour and I left.

In that instance of speaking my truth I was responsible for my actions and words. My truth was, I do not accept abusive behaviour. I could not change the man. I could not determine whether or not others chose to remain under his abuse. I was not that powerful. My power was in my capacity to make the changes I needed to honour my truth.

Inside me there was a voice that wanted to scream at this individual and rant and rave and really tear a strip off of him in front of his staff. While the momentary relief of doing that might have made me feel good, the truth is — that behaviour would have compromised my values, principles and beliefs.

I value courteous behaviour. I value common decency. I value respect.

I stand true to myself when I step lightly through each moment with dignity, grace and respect. When the footprints I leave are filled with love and do not become potholes for others to fall into.

I believe I am responsible for every thought, word I speak, action I take.

I believe I am responsible for my own happiness. And I trust others to be responsible for theirs.

I believe the world is a place of infinite possibility and beauty.

I believe it is up to me to create it in my own life and to lovingly share my light so that the world around me is illuminated with love that will inspire others to step joyfully through their days — regardless of the weather.

When I stand comfortably in my truth, I am standing in love. In love, I do not hurt others. I do not retaliate unkindly. I lovingly state what is true for me, and do not give myself up to make their truth mine.

There are no boundaries to speaking truth as long as we remember, there is truth in everything, but not all things are true. In our truth is the only place we can stand to live free of fear that our truth is not enough.

We are enough.

In all our truth.

***************

Thank you RH for the inspiration for today’s blog.