Do you hide what you truly think and feel because you fear others will trample on your vulnerable truth? Or do you aggressively express yourself because you’ve always had to fight for the right to be heard and understood?
Both seemingly opposite extremes are rooted in low self-esteem and trust issues. Whether you’re hiding your expression or are aggressive with it, let’s uncover the underlying reasons for it so you can make different choices.
In this blog, I offer 6 tips to honor your truth. These suggestions aim to 1) Help you authentically communicate your truth so that others get to know the real you, 2) Save you the energy it takes to wear a mask of inauthenticity, and 3) Build the foundation of trust within yourself so that you can create loving, stable relationships.
This blog describes the sixth of nine attributes of a Loving Self-Advocate (LSA), this one being on the emotional realm. A LSA is a woman who is holistically balanced, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She knows her worth and how to get her needs met in a healthy way.
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Need a Recap of the First 5 Attributes?
To read more about the other attributes, see below. Learn how to move away from the extremes and move towards a holistic, balanced path.
Attribute #6 of a Loving Self Advocate – Honoring Your Truth
What do I mean by “Honoring Your Truth,” and why should you even care?
Honoring your truth is being willing and able to authentically and vulnerably express what you feel and want, while being mindful that others don’t have to agree with you. In other words, you are well-expressed in a non-aggressive, centered way.
This is important because authentic communication is the foundation of every healthy, intimate relationship. Intimacy (in-to-me-see) is allowing some select people to really know you. It is not necessarily romantic, but the quality of intimacy is needed in romantic as well as in all relationships.
Why is Honoring Your Truth So Challenging?
This E.E. Cummings’ quote summarizes why perfectly: “The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.”
First, people want you to be someone who makes them comfortable, easy to be around. Consequently, they will manipulate you to get you to conform to their agenda. You being empowered around your health, success and happiness makes others uneasy because it reminds them of what they aren’t doing.
Secondly, all humans have this tragic tension between authenticity and attachment per Dr. Gabor Mate` (renowned addiction & trauma expert). We are drawn to attach to others for the sake of being taken care of, taking care of another, or to reproduce.
Mostly it’s about caretaking. When you are born, you are 100% dependent upon mom and dad, or whoever your caretakers are. Therefore, you have this deep attachment to others.
BUT you also have a need for authenticity and capacity to be yourself. If these needs bump up against each other, the need to attach will always win because being acceptable is a matter of your survival. You will sacrifice your true self and the need to express that as it’s secondary to your survival.
So if you’ve ever wondered why it’s so blasted hard to tell what you truly think and feel, now you know why. You are wired to survive, not be happy.
Expressing yourself is not a necessity for survival, for the most part, unless you’re choking on a hotdog, and your mom wouldn’t ordinarily notice unless you tugged on her shirt (true story of my husband’s).
Which Side of the Communication Spectrum Do You Fall?
Does it not feel safe to speak up, or do you feel compelled to speak in a way that is over-powering, and people end up NOT hearing you anyway?
Option 1–Hiding Expression (checkmark the statements that resonate with you):
- I can’t speak my true thoughts and feelings, because I might make others uncomfortable. They may not like what I have to say and therefore reject me.
- People might think I’m selfish and greedy or judge me in some other way.
- People might not agree with my beliefs and try to make me wrong, making me feel worse about myself.
- I prefer to hide who I am in order to stay safe.
- I feel stifled, suppressed, a fraud in hiding. If they really knew me, they wouldn’t accept or approve of me.
- I don’t know the real me half of the time, because I’m the chameleon who tells people what they want to hear.
- It doesn’t feel safe to ask for what I want and need because being told NO hurts.
- My marriage is suffering because I’m afraid to tell my spouse my real thoughts and feelings.
- Because I regularly hold back my thoughts and feelings, I erupt at times like a pressure cooker when I can no longer passively keep quiet.
- I resist making videos, speaking in public, going to networking events, etc., or generally doing anything that makes me visible and vulnerable to move my business forward.
Did you say yes to any of the above?
There is a saying, “When you’re well expressed, you can’t be depressed.” Can you see how much this fear of speaking your truth is harming your relationships and your happiness?
Option 2–Aggressive Expression (checkmark the statements that resonate with you):
- I aggressively express my opinions, needs and wants, whether others want to hear them or not.
- I feel compelled to express myself because I never felt heard, noticed or validated when I was growing up.
- I’ve been told that I’m loud and obnoxious at times.
- I may be very subtle, play dumb and/or manipulate to get my way.
- I will deflect others’ criticism to keep the focus off of my own stuff–I hate being called out! Ugh. It makes me feel so ashamed of myself.
- I need to feel in control to such an extent that I may bully, berate or verbally overpower others to get my point across.
- I can be overpowering to clients and potential clients by needing them to make decisions quickly, which can be off-putting and annoying to them.
- I have a tendency to rub people the wrong way, judging them for being flighty or not ready to move forward. I like to call them out, which they don’t appreciate.
- I want what I want and can be very inflexible and selfish.
Did you answer yes to any of the above? Can you see how being a “bull in a china shop” with your words is damaging your relationships and your own joy? Fortunately there is another way.
6 Tips For Honoring Your Truth as a Loving Self Advocate:
I Humbly Ask for What I Want
The reason you don’t ask for your wants/needs to be met is that you don’t feel worthy of them on a subconscious level. And there is a fear that if you ask someone for something, you’ve now put power and control in their hands. Therefore, two of the scariest words you can say are , “I want.”
As a Loving Self-Advocate, it’s easier to ask for what you want because you know you’re worthy no matter their response. So now you do so without over-the-top drama or fear. You are straightforward and openly disclose what you truly think, feel, need and want without shame.
I Communicate With Humility
By practicing humility, you give others the benefit of the doubt and respect their viewpoint even if you don’t agree with it. The other person is always at least 10% right. You’ve given up the need to be staunchly right because that activates sabotaging behaviors which then activate another person’s. Shirzad Chamine calls this saboteur contagion.
You use language such as, “What do you think?”, “How do you see it?”, “What would you like?”, ”How could we work this out?”
I Respect Myself & Others
You have kind, respectful self-talk. You make mistakes like everyone, but when you do, you don’t harshly judge yourself. Instead you say to yourself, “It’s OK, buddy. You can always try again.”
Therefore you respect the needs of others and really try to understand them.
I Vulnerably Express My Feelings
And if you feel hurt by another’s words or actions (someone who you care about), instead of minimizing your feelings and putting up a tough exterior, you say something like, “I feel hurt. I need some space right now to process what just happened. We can talk later.” You don’t abandon them because they hurt you. When we choose to love another, it IS painful.
I Build Trust With Others
This builds trust and connection with others.
I Set Healthy Boundaries
You let them know that you’ll get back with them in a specified period of time. You might say, “I would enjoy A or B but not C,” or “That doesn’t feel right for me.”
Can you see how taking the LSA approach would lead to better outcomes and impact on your relationships? The problem is that you’re fighting your survival needs of attachment to be your authentic self.
What can you do? You have to rewire your thinking so that your survival brain isn’t triggered into fight, flight or freeze responses when you speak up authentically. Another way of saying this is that you need to heal the issues of the heart.
You can do this with various energy techniques, such as emotional freedom techniques, the healing codes, hypnosis, energy medicine, positive intelligence, etc. I’m trained in all of these areas.
Check out my upcoming free, healing circle in which I’ll deliver a free healing code and help get you on your way to healthily expressing yourself.