Updated: Feb 16, 2021
I have spent a lot of time with a coach, learning that I’m scared to speak my truth. I’m afraid of conflict and not being liked, so I often say what I think others want to hear unless it goes against my values or beliefs. I seek harmony always and avoid conflict at all costs.
The cost? The inability to be fully vulnerable and genuine. Not knowing what I want or believe. Sacrificing my time and energy for the sake of others and not taking care of myself.
I believe that there is no reason to rock the boat, ever. We can always find common ground and a compromise. The gift? It makes me very diplomatic and calming when conflict arises.
As I learn to speak my truth, say what I mean, speak up, state my opinion, stand my ground, etc., I have to practice. When I get uncomfortable in a conversation
· I stop,
· take a slow breath,
· check-in with my body – what emotion is present?
· search my mind for what I want to say, and
· then say what is true.
Sometimes my statement is a grand disclosure, for example, about racism, masks, or politics. But it is often the small opinions that make my throat close, and the words get stuck. Heck, just this week, I said, “I don’t like that color for the wall.” I know, right?! Shocking! It takes practice, and I am trying. Like training for a race, I’m putting in the miles until I can run far and easy.
My friend tells me that my throat chakra is blocked. So, I took voice lessons for a bit to open it up. (That was scary exciting! Check out April.) Either way, the more I practice, the easier it becomes.
So, imagine my surprise to find that expressing an opinion or disagreeing with someone was just the first step to being more genuine. To honestly speak my truth, I need to be vulnerable and share all of me. I need to share with people that I am sad, disappointed, hurt by them, and dare I say it – feeling love and compassion for someone. Holy crap – that's scary. Seriously?!
Don’t get me wrong, I tell people I love them all of the time, but in a normal, reasonable, measured way. That’s the right way, right? Yep, pretty normal. But I don’t tell all of the people I care about—what a waste of time and opportunity.
Here’s an example. My family came by for an hour in my backyard for hot cocoa and holiday wishes in late December. I got wrapped up in COVID worries and the potential for conflict. I figured out how to prepare and tried to breathe. But I was feeling something else too. What was it? I realized that I was achingly sad missing my family, tired of COVID restrictions and all of the loss this year. I was stifling this massive need for a hug from my Dad, and every other person because I am skilled at sucking it up and pushing through. My mom passed away in June, and I saw my Dad in July. The first thing he did was open his arms wide and say, “come here.” And I freaked. COVID man! I said no, and he replied, “I don’t care.” Paul said, “give your Dad a hug.” Paul knew that I needed that hug. But I moved back and screeched, “my brother says no!” (It helps to know that my brother is a super-duper air quality specialist extraordinaire and is keeping us all safe and informed.) Shoving my feelings down into the pit of my stomach was more comfortable than telling my Dad the truth and bursting into ugly-cry face.
Yeah, I am scared to tell people I love, need, and care about them. What if they think I am too emotional? A wuss? A weak girl? Needy? Too dependent? I hear you, universe! I will try.
During our family holiday zoom gathering, I told everyone how I felt -- with an ugly-cry face. I hear myself say “I love you” to friends more. It’s quick, and I hope they hang up fast so that I don’t have to talk about it. Ha!
I’m just starting to put the miles in – walking before I run. But it is a start.
The lesson I have learned is that the work to be real, authentic, and genuine is worth it and comes with tremendous rewards. But first, it's scary.
So, readers, let me tell you - I appreciate you reading this blog and any others. I am grateful that you give me a few of your precious minutes to listen to my thoughts. Your comments and likes provide me with the courage and energy to keep walking my path. I hope you share more of yourself with me. I am happy to have you in my life.
Namaste, my soul honors your soul.
P.S. Book recommendation from my daughter, Jordan, on this topic – The Authenticity Project. Yes, Jordan, I will read it! :)