Did you watch the US Open when the umpire accused Serena Williams of cheating. And she lost it? She was demanding an apology. Clearly she is a woman who values honesty. And being questioned about her integrity made her rage.
I was so impressed with the way she defended herself, demanding that he apologize.
So many of us back down when it comes to being honest.
I know I have - and at times I still find it difficult to speak my truth. I have been so conditioned to worry about what other people think...and not wanting to offend others that the real me doesn’t always show up.
I now thinkg that as long as we keep hiding who we are, what we really believe, what our opinions are, what we want, how we feel and what we think from ourselves, we are never going to be able to bring our authentic selves to the table and use our gifts to heal the world.
And yet, we continue to choose cognitive dissonance over being authentic and true to ourselves.
John O’Donohue writes in The Trap of False Belonging, “We learn to fit in, shrink down, minimize our truth. We want to please others and not rock the boat. We cancel or hide our true selves.
It’s time to get honest with yourself. For your own mental health
So how do we start reclaiming our truth?
The first step is to WAKE UP.
In Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Sue Monk Kidd refers this to being in a Deep Sleep. She says,
“A woman in Deep Sleep is one who goes about in an unconscious state. She seems unaware or unfazed by the truth of her own female life, the truth about women in general, the way women and the feminine have been wounded, devalued, and limited within culture, churches, and families. She cannot see the wound or feel the pain. She has never acknowledged, much less confronted, sexism within the church, biblical interpretations, or Christian doctrine. Okay, so women have been largely missing from positions of church power, we’ve been silenced and relegated to positions of subordination by biblical interpretations and doctrine, and God has been represented to us as exclusively male. So what? The woman in Deep Sleep is oblivious to the psychological and spiritual impact this has had on her. Or maybe she has some awareness of it all but keeps it sequestered nicely in her head, rarely allowing it to move down into her heart or into the politics of her spirituality.”
And then, we need to SPEAK UP
Monk Kidd writes, “I began to reflect on the ways I’d withheld my opinions, muzzled disconcerting truths, refrained from expressing my true feelings, squelched my riskier ideas, or thwarted my creativity. When I did that, I was living out the script of the Silent Woman. Being a Silent Woman is not about being quiet and reticent, it’s about stifling our truth. Our real truth.”
We are living in a time where women are speaking up. Poet Muriel Rukeyser writes, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
One of the reasons I have held back in speaking my truth is I know how it might impact other people. And I am going to do a podcast episode on this topic. How do you speak your truth even when you know that other people will disagree with you and it will impact your relationships?
As women we are conditioned to be accomodating. In personality tests like the MBTI women often show a preference for Feeling. Or in the Big 5 What that means is we may put harmony above truth. We avoid conflict. We are afraid of not being liked and we certainly don’t want to be labelled ‘bitch’.
Another reason you may avoid seeking or expressing your truth is because you don’t want to act on it. Martha Beck wrote in Leaving the Saints,
“Knowing my own truth made me responsible for choosing a course of action based on that truth, even it it meant breaking with traditions and institutions.”
I often say I can’t go back to church any more - specifically as a pastor’s wife because I refuse to play the game now. I struggled with the spiritual abuse that came from being in that role. There were times I was honest - including kicking someone out of our house, much to the shock of our other guests, because I just couldn’t sit and listen to his pig headed comments any longer. And that was when I was playing nice!
Are you telling yourself the truth? Do you know what you really believe about things in your life? Are you taking time to sort them out or are you deferring to other people to tell you what you think and believe? And if you know what you believe are you aligned with that truth in your life?
It takes a lot of work and it is an ongoing process. We are constantly learning more about ourselves as we mature. And as you start getting honest it can feel like things are unravelling.
It’s OK...you are waking up...and speaking up...and ultimately that is going to bring healing in your life. The truth will set you free. But freedom isn’t always easy to claim and to walk in...we keep ourselves in bondage often because we are afraid to trust ourselves.
Books/articles/resources mentioned in this week's episode:
(Note: some of these are affiliate links)
Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
MBTI - I am accredited to administer this assessment.
Article on the Worlds Most Scientific Personality Test being sexist.
Leaving the Saints by Martha Beck
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
I've been intentional about choosing this time of year to launch my new course. I want to invite you to do a deep dive into your spiritual story. I've been working on Reframe Your Faith for several months.