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Speaking Your Truth


Cross My Heart and Hope to Live!
By:  Jean Harper

Do you remember when you were just a kid and someone would ask you a question and after you spoke your answer the question was then followed by: "cross your heart and hope to die?" That is one of the early childish ways we came to believe when someone was really telling us the truth. Most of the time the question was a personal one from the asker--we knew if the answer was not a good one then we might answer with "yes" when we should have said "no"- like, "how does my hair look?"- the truthful answer may have been "terrible" but we said "great" because we didn't want to cause hurt feelings or we didn't want our friend to be mad at us.......

With these words from my spiritual advisor- "say what you mean but don't say it mean" I began my own work of speaking my truth.  Author and speaker, Mike Robbins says, "Our truth runs much deeper than any of our opinions. Truth is about how we feel and what is real for us. Truth is not about being right; it's about expressing what we think and feel in an authentic, vulnerable and transparent way. This distinction is not just about semantics or words, it is total shift in perspective and context. When we let go of being "right" about our opinions and take responsibility for our experience, we can speak our truth from a much deeper and more authentic place. Speaking this deeper truth will not only liberate us, but has the potential to make a difference for others while bringing us closer together."

Standing in integrity with yourself and speaking your truth, even when it isn't easy, and especially when it isn't easy, is something I now strive to do and a trait I admire greatly in others. Whether you're expressing your values, beliefs, needs or desires, it's important to speak your truth. To do anything less does a great disservice to yourself and to those with whom you have relationships.

In those instances when someone was honest enough to speak a difficult truth to me, however painful, I appreciated the guts it took to be honest. I appreciated that they respected themselves, respected me, respected the relationship, enough to be so honest.   When you speak a difficult truth one of two things will result. Either the relationship will dissolve, or the connection you share will deepen and become even stronger.

While it's important to speak your truth, however, it’s also important to be thoughtful with your words- with this I am reminded- "say what you mean but don't say it mean".

In an excerpt from- Speaking with Anger vs. Speaking Your Truth, p. 163 - You Have Chosen to Remember:  A Journey from Perception to Knowledge, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros--

"There is a difference between speaking with anger and speaking your truth. When you speak with anger, know that the ego-self is speaking. Know that you're reacting to and focusing on an illusion you see as real. When you speak with anger you bring forth, knowingly or not, emotionally repressed feelings from the past. You replace the present with the past and you lose the opportunity to experience what is really going on.


When you speak with anger, you are not really concerned with how those listening to you will feel. All you really care about is that your point of view is heard. When you come from such a place, all you are doing is making the listener defensive. The listener then puts up a wall to defend himself or herself against the perceived attack.  As a result, you end up arguing or shouting at a wall with the hopes of being heard. Regardless of how smart or right you believe yourself to be, you will not be heard by a wall. Obviously, a wall is not a good listener, which creates frustration. The frustration leads to confusion, which then ends in regret. This person, knowing that he cannot communicate with you, will move on to someone he believes will listen to what you did to him. This creates more frustration and miscommunication on everyone's part.  In short, whenever you speak with anger, regardless of whether or not you believe you have every right to do so - frustration, confusion, separation and regret are your end results."

Most experts agree on many ways to speak your truth, here are my top 5 ways to speak your truth:

  1. Be real, not right- truth comes from the heart
  2. Stop managing other people's feelings- it's not your responsibility for how telling the truth will make someone feel.
  3. Be clear and direct- don't try to manipulate- simply state the truth
  4. Say "no" instead of "no problem"- respect your time and energy
  5. Show Respect- "say what you mean but don't say it mean.

In Therese Tappouni's  book - The Promise she discusses how when we don't tell the truth or avoid the truth we begin to feel the effects by a tightening in our chest as well as other physical symptoms that happen in the body.  Over a long period of time these can turn into more serious physical conditions.

Remember the famous poem Desiderata that was written over 50 years ago? The words of wisdom in this inspirational poetry are the perfect ending to this topic:

Written by Max Ehrmann in 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter;  for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing future of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs;  for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;  many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness. Beyond wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


Cross your heart now and hope to live in truth!



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