Why “Speak Your Truth” Is A Bad Idea

Why “Speak Your Truth” Is A Bad Idea

Hey everybody! I’m Jenny Hale and this is my truth bomb series of short videos about relationship advice that isn’t great, why it isn’t great, and where the truth actually lies.

Today I’d like to talk about the advice that you hear around the place,  especially in the new-age personal development realm – “speak your truth”.

Now intuitively, it sounds like a good idea right?

Obviously, if you’re faking things in relationship, you’re not actually being authentic, it’s not going to work.

But “speak your truth” is not necessarily leading to authenticity. I see this a lot.  I work with individuals and couples working on their relationships. I’ve worked with hundreds of people and I’ve seen this quite regularly. I’ve seen one partner giving the other partner “advice” – constructive criticism that’s not very constructive.

They’re telling their partner everything they think is wrong with them, what they’re doing wrong, how they can improve, and they justify this by saying “I’m just speaking my truth. This is just how I see it.”

Sometimes it’s wrapped in the language of non-violence, which is really interesting to see – nonviolent communication used in quite a violent way.

“When you do that I feel angry and hurt because my need for security is not being met”, and the subtext is therefore you shouldn’t do that.

So now that I’ve “spoken my truth”, now that I’ve told you how I feel, you have to change.

Or, it’s just a license to not be responsible in the way that people speak. I’ve seen people just allow themselves to go into a triggered rage state and say “I can’t stand this, this is unbearable, I’m out of this relationship, it’s over, that’s it …”

They don’t actually mean that. They don’t actually want to end the relationship, but in that moment there’s that’s how they feel. At that moment, that’s the words that spontaneously arise and pop out of their mouths. That’s the truth at that moment.

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Now you can imagine, as the partner trying to process what’s happening that’s really confusing.

“Speak your truth” works only when you’re speaking in a responsible way. When you’re speaking constructively, when you’ve thought it through, you’re very clear on what your truth actually is, when you know it’s not your childhood wounds speaking. When you know it’s not some mental construct speaking. When you’ve actually taken the time, you’ve done the meditation, you’ve gone internally, you’ve found the source of your own truth.

A lot of people who say “I’m just speaking my truth” have no idea what their truth is. They’ve never met their truth. They’ve never gone in there. They have no idea who they are, and they have no idea what’s true for them, so they say … stuff. Let’s call them mind farts. If they’re not childhood trauma, they’re mind farts.

They start “speaking their truth”, and what comes out of their mouth may be completely a hundred eighty degrees opposite to what’s actually in their heart as their truth, in their authentic self.

But until you’ve met your authentic self, connected with your authentic self, you can’t speak your truth, because you’ve got no idea what it is.

So the advice works for people who are connected with their authentic self, and who know what their deepest truth is, and can speak that.

For everybody else, whatever they speak when they’re “speaking their truth” is going to be on some level inauthentic. It’s going to be on some level a lie. It might be true in the moment because of that emotion, but it’s not really what they want for their life. It’s not really how they want to be with their partner, and so on.

A lot of relationship advice works like this. If you’ve actually done the work, and you’re connected with your authentic self, and you’re really present and together, and you have good communication skills then the advice is useful. Now, what percentage of the population is in that boat?

So you have to be very careful not to take these advices and use them as justifications for behaviour. It’s actually not constructive, and not useful.

At the end of the day what we all want to do, we’re all working on, is really coming home. Coming back to the authentic self, and being able to speak our truth for real. To be able to speak our authentic truth, to know who we are, and to know what we have to say.

What is “The Authentic Self”?

What is “The Authentic Self”?

baby authentic self

The authentic self can also be called the true self, the original being, the Self, Being, or, in more spiritual language, the Divine Self. All these terms refer to the same aspect of us – the one who was born, who existed before our brain developed enough to create a psyche, or a false self.

Different disciplines have developed different language to describe the authentic self. In transpersonal psychotherapy, the authentic self is known as the Self. Transpersonal psychotherapy helps people to access their authentic self, and use its clarifying power to adjust aspects of the psyche which are causing distress.

In spiritual traditions, the authentic self is known as the Divine within (in Abrahamic traditions), or the buddhi body or jivatman (in yogic traditions). In ontological traditions, it is known as Being.

From Authentic Self to False Self; The Universal Human Tragedy

The false self develops in recognisable stages as our brain matures. In the early stages, the foundations are laid when we develop object permanence (remembering objects exist, even when we can’t directly see or hear them) and the ability to perceive ourselves as separate from the Universe as a whole.boy authentic self

By age two, we are testing out the limits of our separate existence, and learning how to feel secure when we are not with our primary caregivers. The individual qualities of our false self are a result of our biological tendencies and the environment we inhabit. We are especially influenced by the type of physical and emotional care our parents provide.

We develop our feelings about what kind of person we are, and what kind of world we live in, based on these early, formative years. If our caregivers are unreliable, we will internalise the feeling that survival is precarious, and the world is uncaring, or even dangerous. If they respond badly to our crying when we are in need, we will develop a sense of shame. This manifests in feelings that we are not good enough, that there is something wrong with us, and we need to work hard to earn our keep. 

authentic self

Our authentic self is immune to all these environmental influences.

While our psyche is growing, layer by layer, developing limiting beliefs and storing traumas, our authentic self remains unchanged. Luminous, pure, open to the world, and deeply peaceful, the authentic self is always present, underneath our everyday psyche. Often, the authentic self is so deeply submerged that we don’t know it is there, or we don’t know where to find it.

Clinging to the False Self

suffering

When this happens, we mistakenly think that the false self is the only self we have. We believe we ARE the false self. We defend the false self as though it is really who we are. We defend the prison we have built for ourselves. We defend the container which holds all of our suffering. We defend the scars from all of our psychological wounds as though they were our heart and lungs.

When we identify with the false self, we defend the prison, instead of returning to being the one who was never imprisoned at all.

We are never so trapped as when we believe the prison walls are a part of ourselves. We are never so free as when we realise that we no longer need the protection of walls at all.