Actionable Ways To Find—And Speak—Your Truth in 2018 (Because, Oprah)
I predict that 2018 will be a year of truth-telling...but you don't have to be a psychic like me to come up with that forecast. Just look at the #metoo movement that started last fall. Right now the universal energies, which affect the entire planet collectively as well as our own individual lives, are encouraging us to speak our truth.
Here are some tips for speaking your truth with love, respect, or diplomacy to folks in your personal and professional life, as well as a journal exercise to help you discover your truth. Many of my clients are making big changes in their lives this year, as 2018 just has that kind of energy. Oprah said it best in her Golden Globes speech: "What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have."
1. Remember that admitting your truth to yourself can be the hardest part.
Is there something you find painful to admit? Maybe one day you see a friend's baby gurgling away on social media and think, "Sometimes I regret that I chose not to have children." Or you might be a full-time mom who sees a former MFA classmate celebrating her latest book launch on social media and think, "If I hadn't had kids, I could have written five books by now too." It's natural to have regrets and second-guess ourselves. It's also natural to course-correct, and truth-telling helps us do that. Maybe there is a niece/nephew or friend's child who would love you to be a bigger part of their life. Or maybe you can set aside Saturday nights to get started on that book.
Truth-telling action step: Resolve to be gentle and loving as you admit your truth to yourself. This is not the time to blame or shame, if, for example, you are realizing that you squandered some of your inheritance. Face this truth with courageous self-love, and it will be much easier to change your spending habits.
2. Get as clear and sober as you can emotionally before speaking your truth.
Maybe you're realizing that supporting your spouse's desire to live her dream as an artist for 10 years while you held down a straight job with benefits has caused you to overwork and undervalue your own needs. You might feel initial rage when you tap into this truth—rage both at yourself for putting your dreams on hold and at your spouse. Cool off before sharing this truth. The straight-no-chaser, emotionally volcanic version could be very cutting to a person you still love and cherish. Take time and come up with the news release version of your truth, which should still express your emotions but be more diplomatic. In time as you and your partner work through this issue and heal, you can reveal even more of your emotional experience.
Truth-telling action step: If you are feeling revved up and like you have to speak to someone "now" about a situation that you have allowed to continue unchallenged for some time, press "pause." Cool down for a few days. Think through with strategy a way to present your case diplomatically while still honoring your emotional truth.
Your truth-telling is guaranteed to cause change, if only in you—perhaps the most powerful change of all.
3. Know that others will have their own version of the truth.
Truth is a funny thing. It's not always black and white or clear-cut. Perhaps your mother kicked you out as a teenager, and you have recently realized in therapy that this caused huge abandonment issues that have, at times, negatively affected your decisions as an adult. You and Mom reconciled years ago, but the wounded inner child feels moved to call and share this truth with her. You might be surprised to learn that your mother kicked you out because some of your free-spirited choices terrified her, and she wanted to get your attention or regain some control. Everyone has their own version of what went down and why.
Truth-telling action step: Hold space for hearing other people's truth. It doesn't mean you have to agree with it or even honor it, but taking time to feel out someone else's motivations—something I can help clients do during a psychic session—can be enlightening and sometimes valuable. Maybe there is a good reason, in your boss's mind, why she will not allow flexible hours. Understanding that could help you convince her it is a good idea!
4. Be prepared for your truth-telling to make you feel vulnerable.
Sensitive/empathic people are drawn to working with psychics like me, and many of my clients can already sense the negative reactions their truth will cause in parents, friends—and even strangers. This makes sensitive people feel very vulnerable and could keep them quiet. Also, if you were not used to getting your needs met as a child, you might not be comfortable being vulnerable enough to ask for things.
Truth-telling action step: Work up your courage before telling your truth, and admit to a trusted friend or health care professional that you are feeling vulnerable. Have a plan in place to speak to someone you love and trust or do something soothing and kind for yourself after you speak up.
5. Understand that truth-telling disrupts the status quo.
Humans usually resist change, and truth-telling initiates change. Most changes work out for the best in time, so remind yourself of that. Conversely, you might be afraid that your truth-telling will create no change at all. But remember, your truth-telling is guaranteed to cause change, if only in you—perhaps the most powerful change of all. Whether you think your family will agree or not, honor yourself by telling them how important living more green this year is to you and the planet.
Truth-telling action step: Changes are easier to digest when we plan ahead and take them in our stride. If this is at all possible, give yourself the gift of grace after you tell your truth. Make big changes gradually.
6. If speaking your truth threatens your physical or emotional safety, get support.
Perhaps you have an ex who won't leave you alone, and speaking your truth means admitting to the authorities that you are being stalked. Your next move might be getting a restraining order or exploring similar options. You can never, ever get too much support when you speak your truth.
Truth-telling action step: Whether this falls into the big deal or not-as-dramatic category, plan ahead of time to get appropriate support for your truth-telling journey.
A truth-telling journal exercise for clarity:
Since this exercise involves examining your emotions, try to do it when you are feeling emotionally even or neutral (not when you are panicked before a big deadline or right after a bitter blowup with a friend). This will help you get into your observer or witnessing energy, where you can gain the most wisdom.
- Get out your journal and think back over the past week or month. Zero in on the times when you experienced extreme negative emotions, like frustration, rage, or fear. Also note times when you felt intense positive emotions, like peace, gratitude, or excitement.
- Now let your emotions guide you to your truth by dialoguing with them. Ask your anger what it was trying to tell you: Did someone cross your boundary? Did you disappoint yourself? Now chat with your joy: Was a hobby like painting or writing making you intensely happy? Did it feel really good to get a break from the kids?
- Brainstorm action steps. Do these truths inspire you to change your routines or even your relationships? Maybe it makes you want to re-prioritize or have a tough talk. Your truth probably makes you want to take some sort of action, because truth-telling is very empowering!
Being honest with yourself is a beautiful form of self-love. Here's some more advice on how to deepen your relationship with yourself this year.
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