The greatest lesson I Live by, without fail, is to always speak your Truth. I look back at my life and see moments I have spent undoing damage and rebuilding connections that have been broken with family, friends, colleagues and in romantic relationships because the truth was withheld. My belief is that lies do not serve any relating, not even the little lies, the fibs, the white lies, the half truths or hidden truths. I have learned to live my life with intention of telling the truth.
I had a revelation of this when I began to question for myself what kind of life I wanted to create for myself, what the foundations of my living would be, the Truth was one of the central pieces of how I wanted to walk this world.
I question- What makes us tell a lie? How could truth not seem as important to uphold? I broke down moments where lies took power over the telling of truth in my life and I examined the insecurities, the fears, the beliefs that someone could not handle the truth, that it would hurt them, and that it would make them turn away or reject me? All of these reasons I have come to know at their root are self serving, and are false understandings of how and in which way truths effect others. It is a reality that the truth can be painful, it can shake us, it can disrupt our comforts, and turn our world upside down, but from this we gain the opportunity of awareness, of knowledge, and most importantly of understanding and capacity to love ourselves and others because from these gifts of truth we are invited to grow, expand and are given the greater opportunity to make choices for our betterment with clarity and courage. When we tell the truth we offer others freedom, because when we withhold the truth it is a form of manipulation, a way of controlling a situation, even if it doesn’t look like manipulation and control to us, because to us it looks more like protection, support or knowing better for another.
Telling the truth has become a continuous practice for me, it has been a way of life, it has been a way of ritual and often others are taken aback by my spiritual practice of truth telling, because of the transparency, the statements that are simply spoken, that are said with courage and conviction, the deep questions that are posed and the exchanges that are taken care of regardless of how long the conversation takes or how painful it may become to have for true clarity. There is no truth that I do not hold without Love, without compassion, without openness, without the intention to let another’s truth live beside my own. This is what is central to my practice of truth telling in a world that has taught me to be false, to lie, to keep secrets because it will provide an advancement, an advantage, a security in controlling, that withholding the truth is powerful. I don’t believe that anymore, and it has taken and still takes continuous practice to make this happen, but I do the work because I know how real it is that the “Truth will set you free.” Telling the truth, living with truth at my core has freed me moment after moment.
I have decided to share this practice with a hope that it may serve someone else as it serves me.
1) The Truth Does Not Come With Ease:
My practice of telling the truth begins with the acknowledgement that it can be difficult to tell the truth, because we as humans have created the practices of lying, that have to be unlearned. Lies exist and have become the foundations of many relationships, of learnings, of businesses and of institutions. The truth is not always supported, so rooting it in my existence takes continuous tending and continuous unpacking of the feelings and challenges that hinder me from recognizing that the truth is worth the work and will serve me greatly in the long run.
2) Taking Time for Truths to Be Held:
I have learned that the way I tell my truth is as important as what I am saying. Choosing my words with care, being patient with the process, giving myself room to speak with readiness and inviting others to do the same by giving room for patience in my listening exchanges. I do not rush the process of telling the truth, rather I hold it with love and compassion and take it slowly.
3) My Truth is Not Always What is “Right” :
Telling the truth does not have to become an argument with intention to trump the truth of another. I enter truth exchanges with the understanding that I do not have to convince someone else that my truth is right, rather I carry the intention to honor my truth by letting it live, with hope to at the least understood. My truth does not need to be accepted as another’s truth, it just needs to be acknowledged as mine. The goal for me is to be heard, but it is not to be right. One of my greatest mentors- JLove Calderon has said to me time and again “Do you want to be right or do you want to be free.” I choose freedom.
4) Editing and Explaining:
I have found that in the midst of truths being told, often emotions spur up and words get jumbled along the way. Because of this I make room for myself to catch when I have not spoken exactly what it is I wanted to communicate. And I also am completely open to explanation as my communication unfolds, stating what I am doing, feeling and what I need. Phrases that come up often are “I feel…,” “I’m not ready to speak on that just yet, but I will be,” “I need to sit by myself for a moment, but I want to continue the conversation,” “I am crying because…,” “I need to think about what I am saying…,””I need to take a moment to breathe…,” “I need you to repeat what you said, I’m seeing that I didn’t hear you the way you wanted me to hear you….” In all this I work to have my truth received with simplicity and clarity.
5) Ask Questions with an Intention of Seeking Clarity:
I ask questions when I share my truth, to make certain that what I have communicated is heard with clarity and light. I like to know what others hear in my communication, to make sure that what they process of my truth is not a misrepresentation of what I actually mean to say to begin with. I also check in around feelings that my truth makes them feel. I seek to understand how my truth is received. And when others express their truths, I ask questions to make certain I have heard them with clarity and light in return.
6) Acknowledging the Understanding of Another’s Truth In Relation to My Own- Hearing Where They Are Coming From:
I constantly remind myself when I express my truths, that I will effect those that receive it and that they may experience my truth from a perspective that I am unaware of, that is out of my reach. My intention then is to find understanding in where they are coming from, to see my truth as it effects, influences and connects to their life experience. I open myself to this and the responsibility of how my truth will effect others.
7) Having Practices That Keep Me Present:
In experiences of truth telling I understand my emotions may take me out of an exchange, especially as those receiving my truth may react in ways that may cause my spirit to leave the situation. The response to this for me begins with breath, taking a moment to find my breath centering my being and then letting it guide my spirit, my mind and my body to follow. I also practice physical cues of centering including placing my palms to my chest or finding opportunities for touch and engagement with who I am sharing my truth with.
8) Vulnerability is Power:
I am an emotional being and I have learned to see the power in that, telling the truth is complete vulnerability. And with that comes things that expose our emotions to emerge as expressions of our souls surfaced. When we are vulnerable, we invite others to join us in being vulnerable, which makes exchanges even more powerful. I have learned that Truth lives fullest when we allow ourselves to be present in our most human states of being and open our selves mind, body and spirit to the experience of vulnerability.
9) Remove Fear of Silence and Stillness:
Another part of being willing to live the vulnerability of truth is being willing to sit in silence and stillness and seeing the value of this. So much can be held by silence and stillness and so much can arise from this as well. Our words are only a part of telling the truth, with engaging our bodies and the way we elevate spirit in our exchanges truths are held in powerful ways. Energetically the silence and stillness can bring us closer to each other, it can embrace us and bring us to connect with eyes, with breath, with touch that all communicate deeper than words can sometimes. Silence and stillness can help us to center ourselves in finding words that we may not have found to express before and can often hold us in our exchange to feel what words cannot express.
10) The Only Resolution is That You Have Honored Your Truth:
I have experienced that I cannot enter any truth telling with an expectation of how it will be received. I understand fully that my truth will come with no assured resolution. That I may leave a telling of truth with a loss, with a heartbreak, with rejection and in that leave with an opportunity to grow, to change, to find deeper understanding of living. But more than anything else what I know I will leave with is My Truth and my honoring of truth as the center of how I choose to live in relation to all others.
I believe the more that I apply my practices of truth telling and truth living the freer I become. If the expectation of others becomes that I live truthfully then the hope will be that it will invite them to do the same with me in exchange.
Truth be told, truth be lived.