Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Speak Your Truth

Journal, kindness, yoga

"Speak your truth" has been my theme for the past few weeks. At work, with my family, and in my relationship, it's never been more important. Sometimes the truth needs to be spoken to myself. To that end, I invested in a new journal to document my goals, thoughts and dreams. It is part planner, part diary. I often jot down quotes as reminders to myself. Each week I write down my goals as well as to-do lists to achieve them.

In yoga, truthfulness is satya, one of the yamas. My journal from yoga-teacher training shows that early on during the program I focused an entire week on the principle and noticed a lot less guilt about saying no to invitations. I felt pressure — and I still do — to say yes to any offer to make plans, even when I needed time for myself or for my relationship. I felt less stressed when I stopped trying to please others. I remember a mudra workshop we had during teacher training in which we were instructed to ask ourselves, "How would I live if I weren't concerned with the opinions of others?" It is a constant battle for me to work on not worrying about what people think. My recent focus on truthfulness is part of that effort.

I've found that by setting this intention I am lifting a weight off my shoulders. I've recently said things to family members I never would have before. My tactic to deal with family issues has always been to keep to myself, but I can no longer do that. I am being forced now to say what's on my mind and what I will have to do if things don't change.

At work, I am finally being honest about things that have been frustrating me; things that I would get annoyed at but would never say anything about. How can I expect change when I never speak out about something that bothers me? I often think of the quote that reads something like, "Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes." I tend to imagine the outcome when I finally say something, but I am often wrong about what a person's reaction will be. Many times the person will just say, "OK, I will try to do that." And the problem is solved! Imagine that.

Of course, the tricky part about truthfulness is finding the right way to deliver it. It's not just what you say but how you say it. Rephrasing statements to include "I" instead of "you" can help the person you're speaking with feel less like he or she is being blamed for something. And, of course, make sure that truthfulness is coming from a place of love.