“Speak your truth” isn’t a new concept.  It’s ancient, but it became popular in the 60’s and 70’s and now is so common that it’s almost too trite for a FaceBook meme.  It’s become so trite that it almost has no meaning.  Everyone things they know what that means and yet we seem to mean amazingly different things by it.  This can cause fun halts and detours and anecdotes as people realize they aren’t on the same page and then have to explain themselves.  It can all come right in the end or cause arguments that lead to revelation or drama or both.

I don’t claim to have any one right definition of what that means.  When I work with clients I can see when their bodies feel that they aren’t speaking their truth in some way.  Or they feel they aren’t being heard, which is the other side of that coin.  What I can say is that I have experienced a variety of ways in which people speak their truth and I put them into two general categories:  bludgeons and silently present.

Bludgeons are those who feel that they need to speak their truth, not because they have some intrinsic need to do so, but because they feel that other people need to hear it for some reason.  There are as many reasons as there are people so I won’t even try to list them here.  I will say that this is different than offering their truth for other people to come and experience.  Making your truth, your opinions, your perspective, your wisdom available to others isn’t a bludgeon.  There’s no force, no intent to coerce, no pointy stick poking people to get them to pay attention.  A bludgeon feels that they have a truth that is not only theirs but possibly universal and that everyone should hear it whether they want to or not.  They take every opportunity to make themselves known and so while their truth gets heard, the truth of others becomes the fact that they don’t want to be bludgeoned any more.

The silent witness may not be physically silent.  They often speak their truth, but they present it in a way that doesn’t force it on others.  Many times they let their actions speak for them.  Or they offer just one key phrase or insight that helps in a situation without taking credit or needing to be in the middle of things.  They allow people to come and participate in their lives, they remain open while being balanced, they speak they don’t shout, and they rarely need to justify why they think, feel, say or do the things they do.

In the end, being authentic, being right, being on your path is a great thing, but speaking your truth isn’t the only thing you need to do.  You need to pay attention to how you say it.