Sunday 17 January 2021

On speaking ones truth.

Even speaking the truth to myself.  Eeeek. 

But I already do this!  I say to myself, as I answer someone in a roundabout way in order to sound as if I agree with them, when I don't. 

I tell the truth in my head.  Mostly.  In my head I know what I think, and how I react, and even then I can decide to be a bit vague.  For example, if I am in the kitchen, not hungry, already a bit podgy, and there is a nice big bun on the table, I may have the following discussion in my head -

Oh there's a bun.  Yum, it looks like my kind of bun

You are not hungry, you are a little wobbly at the edges, leave it alone.

Oh but I haven't had  anything to eat yet (it is 8am) and just one bun doesn't do any harm.

It does a lot of harm, considering your podginess and that you don't like being podgy.  Leave the kitchen.  You say this to every bit of food you see.  You will just continue after this one harmless bun.

Nope.  This is of no consequence.  I am fine.  I am loveable for my conversation not my looks.  A bun such as this is always a good idea.  I am not that wobbly anyway.  It really won't matter.

You are going up dress sizes.  You wobble.  This will make you sad when you finish it.  You are in denial.  Leave the kitchen Fatso.

Well that was a nice bun.  Yum.  Oooh.  I wish I hadn't eaten that.  

Speaking my truth.

This is quite serious.  Speaking THE truth is one thing, speaking MY truth is another.  My truth is what makes me think, behave, and speak the way I do.  That is a given.  But we live in communities, within cultures, with other people, and within the law.  There will always be mitigating factors in speaking one's truth, it may be met with a hostile reaction and we may want to avoid that.  "I can't say that, she will be angry."  "I better not say what I really mean, they will not like it" and so on.  MY truth is what is true for me, THE truth is what is true in fact.  Like, it is raining outside (when it actually is), two and two equal four and I live in a house.  My truth, in answer to a question such as whether tea at four becomes compulsory for all adults in the UK, would not really matter much.  No, I don't think so, and no one really cares enough about the question, or the answer, for it to mean much.  It is a bit of a joke.  Even if I had said that I did think it should be compulsory, and I got quite hot under the collar about it, no one would care enough to make much of it.  I would just be seen as a bit of a nut nut.

But ask me a question where the answer could create conflict, despite it being my truth (or my opinion), then I need to think carefully about how I answer.  Ask me if I think we should be in a police state, for example.  Well, no, I don't.  Not many people do.  But what if, for the sake of argument, our national laws were changing bit by bit and compared to a decade ago, we were now much more in what we would call a police state.  What then if my questioner, who approved of this shift, asked me if a police state would be a good thing.  My truth may still be no, but I would have to be braver to say it.  If my questioner agreed with how things were going and had the backing of the majority, I would need to feel quite strong to stick to my guns.  

I could of course, say something neither here nor there and evade the question.  That is OK.  But if I am wanting to speak my truth, I am going to have to make a bit of an effort and find some courage.  I don't have to be foolish about telling my truth but as Jordan Peterson says in his book Twelve Rules for Life, rule eight - 

"Speak in a way that makes you feel strong, not weak.  Act only in ways that your internal voice does not object to.  A lie spoils all the truth it touches, like a tiny drop of sewage in a bottle of wine"

Act only in ways that your internal voice does not object to.  I have seen people do this.  I have seen people asked difficult questions and take time to answer.  They are internally working out their truth and how to tell it well, without compromising how they feel.  It is something for me to aspire to, to never say anything that does not make me feel strong.  There is a great deal to live up to in that.  So, instead of saying what will make people like me, agree with me, give me an easy ride, I may have to face disagreement, argument and disapproval.  I may not, I may find that my truth is the same as everyone else's and everyone is happy.  But I doubt it.

Speaking my truth will make me get my act together.  If I am a bit nervous, and a bit of a people pleaser, my truth is flexible.  The truth that I speak about I mean.  In my mind I may be relieved no one knows what I really think or, maybe, I am frustrated that I can't tell people what I actually believe.  Whatever, it takes a bit of courage and determination to begin to really speak ones truth all the time, not just when it is easy.

I don't expect I will begin this truth telling by blurting it all out whenever asked.  I will have to be diplomatic, and sometimes it won't be appropriate to give all my stuff to someone when they ask.  I will have to find a way to speak my truth at the appropriate level.  I have occasionally found that the person to whom I am speaking, does not, in my opinion, deserve to know my deeper thoughts.  They aren't interested in them, and so I have to find a way of being polite, but reserved.  Where this becomes a problem is if I think everyone is undeserving of knowing what I really think.  Then, I end up saying nothing at all.  

Longing for freedom

I listen to and watch people I admire telling their truths.  I see how careful they are to say what they mean, and stand by it.  It makes me long to be like that.  There is a freedom to it, I know where I am and even if I don't like what they say, I like that they said it.  In theory of course, because I can find myself getting cross too.  If I admire that person's integrity than I am more likely to think that perhaps they have a point, and maybe I should listen.  If I don't like them, don't admire them, I am more likely to tut and shut myself down and stop listening.  But therein lies the reality of it all!  We don't have to like what we hear!  We don't have to say, "Well, at least that person spoke their truth, so I will now give them the benefit of the doubt."  We shout at the telly if we hear what we consider nonsense.  But the person who spoke their truth did at least have the courage to say what they said.  I want to do that!

I want the freedom to be authentically opinionated.  Yes.  I am already a bit opinionated and I am already a bit authentic, but oh boy.  To have the courage to say my piece and go against the grain should that be my truth is a good aim to have. 

I long for that freedom.  

Reality check

There does not now follow an epic rant.  I do not have to blast stuff at you because there is nothing that controversial about my truths.  In fact, I probably don't know what many of them are.  I will need practice to check in with my internal voice and it will be touch and go much of the time.

I won't be transformed over night.  I won't set the world on fire.  I won't change minds because I tell it like it is and all that has gone before has to go.  No, what will happen is that I will try and be a bit brave every time I am asked, challenged or misunderstood.  No!  I will say, I do not think that, I think this!  And away I go, looking for a way to speak my truth, while keeping an eye on my internal voice.

I did eat that bun.  I do regret it.  And I do think that both compulsory tea at four for all adults in the UK AND a police state is a good thing.  Only joking, just checking you are still awake.   

Something for me to bear in mind.