This seems to have been a theme for me recently, so it feels good to share. Because innately we all want to speak the truth, yet when the truth might hurt someone else? What do we do, how do we handle it?
So what does this have to do with body awakening anyway?
Does it hurt me if I don’t tell the truth?
When it comes down to it, I want to be the best version of me possible. If I’m not true to me, there is always going to be a cost.
So one situation I’ve been in for a while now is about 2 years ago I made the decision to stop eating gluten. There is a growing body of research that shows that gluten is inflammatory, and different people respond to a differing degree to it. Well I’m not coeliac, but I seem to be pretty sensitive. I swell slightly when I eat gluten, my joints feel still and sometimes painful and it affects my energy and my mood. So pretty good reasons not to eat it.
How does that make me feel? Well on one level it makes me feel ashamed, ashamed that I’m different, ashamed that my body is letting me down and some fear comes up around being ill if I eat it and being outcast if I don’t. I have a need to fit in. So I play it down, don’t make a fuss, go pretty British - I’m fine.
But my body pays for that. I know I’m not being true to myself, I don’t like that in myself. I lose a bit of respect for myself, for being weak, for not being strong enough to say what I need. And I find my posture collapses when I do that. I feel smaller than I want to. I feel bad. My body contracts a bit. I don’t like these feelings.
So it’s always a good question to ask - when I’m not totally true to myself, what happens in my body? How do I feel? Or even more important - how do I check out and dissociate from these feelings (often we eat sugar or we drink alcohol as a distraction….).
So for me the first thing I need to do is check back in with my body (stage 1 is a great starting point or just some simple deep breathing if you don’t know the exercise). And I own it. I own the fact I’m not being true to myself. Because hurting me is not great.
But how do I avoid hurting the other person?
Well firstly, if it’s someone who loves me, they are potentially going to be more angry if I don’t tell them what I need, than if I just try and fit in. Because they care about me - yes?
And if it’s someone I don’t know so well, well maybe I just need to get over myself. Being honest about something like this is no big deal. Gluten free is so easy nowadays - for example potatoes, meat and vegetables are all gluten free naturally, as is rice. It’s not a hard diet to follow, so why get so worried about it?
So I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m hurting myself, honesty is the only option. And as a Brit, I am trained to be nice, to be polite, to not rock the boat, yet not doing costs me.
You may say - but this is about you, but there must be situations when you should stay quiet?
You know, I’m sure there are. Only you can evaluate what happens in your own body when you either withhold information or truth, or when you consciously tell and untruth? It’s your choice.
I recently felt compelled to tell a fellow therapist why I didn’t want to be treated by her. For me that was quite a big thing to do, because I hold so much respect for anyone who is committed to a healing profession and helping others. But frankly her ego was way bigger than her ability. She assured me that there was no one local good enough to treat her, and then proceded to deliver what I would describe as a beginner level treatment. So what did I do? Well initially I was set to do nothing, just never book another appointment with her and leave her to it. But after conversation with a colleague I thought - you know, if everyone votes with their feet, she will never grow, she wont reach her potential - because her potential was great - so i very gently explained why I wasn’t going to return because my needs were not being met by her expertise at this point in time. Sadly she didn’t take it well, was very cold and shut down emotionally. Whilst I’m sad about that, I also know that standing in my truth served both me and her. No one likes to be told that they are not giving the service they think they are. If I sound arrogant here, it’s not my intention. My intention is to say that we all need feedback, and I know professionally getting feedback can be really hard because most therapists are doing everything they can to be the best they can.
So how do you feel when you don’t speak your truth?
I find I can explore this through so many different stages of SRI.
Stage 1 when I disconnect
Stage 2 when I’m more concerned about how people perceive me and how they will respond me
Stage 3 when I’m stuck in the pattern of being nice, of not saying what I need
Stage 4 when I don’t stand in my power
Stage 5 when I let the voices around me tell me what to do, when I don’t own parts of me that are playing small
Stage 11 when I need to share my gifts
Stage 12 when I need to be in community, in line with what serves the collective….
We all have choices, what serves you?