By Evita Ochel
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Many of us live our life based on the idea that we cannot share what we really feel or think, out of courtesy or consideration for another. However, when we examine why we so often live by suppressing our truth, we come to see that our reasons for doing so are not quite as selfless or admirable as we may presume them to be. By trying to protect the other, we are often simply trying to protect some aspect of our illusory self. In this essay, we will examine the consequences of not living our truth — how this impacts us and those around us — and I will also share with you 5 tips for authentic self-expression.
If you are like most people on our planet, chances are you have “bit your tongue” on more than one occasion, preventing yourself from saying something you felt deeply called within to say. Similarly, you can probably remember your share of situations where you stopped yourself from acting in a way that you were called to act, or perhaps ended up engaging in some action that wasn’t in alignment with your true, personal nature.
From the time we begin to walk and talk, terms like “good girl” and “good boy” are drilled into our minds. We quickly learn what we “should” do to make mommy and daddy happy or proud, and what we “shouldn’t” do. The same is blatantly displayed by our schools, legal systems, and religions. As we grow up, we unconsciously take all those patterns of suppression and conditional acceptance with us into our adult years, often repeating the same cycle with our own children.
Look at our society to begin to understand the effects of this. We don’t have to look far; our own lives show so much imbalance due to the suppression we have endured. The rates of depression and anxiety alone are at all time highs, and our happiness levels are far from optimal.
Unfortunately, being inauthentically “polite” through the suppression of our personal truths may be the accepted or normal behavior, but it is far from natural or good for us. It is still a rare event on our planet to grow up in a household where one is encouraged to share and live their truth — fully — without any compromise or conditions. In fact, we are quickly taught that life is all about compromise. But we cannot point fingers or lay blame on anyone in particular for all this, and definitely not our parents, who simply did what they were taught and the best they could. Blame is definitely not the solution here, or anywhere else for that matter, neither is anger or regret, whether you are a parent or child.
If we are going to find a solution at the root level, what we have to grasp and understand instead, is the source of this suppression within our collective. As with many areas of life that drive our choices, it is here as well that we will find fear present, underlying this issue. As I have often shared in past essays, our modern society is still like a child, who simply wants to give the impression of being grown up by trying to imitate adult behavior. However, we are far from the spiritual maturity needed on a global consciousness and collective scale where truth is honored, rather than feared.
And so we are told that it is not polite, it is not appropriate, it is better left unsaid, for the sake of those involved. So like good girls and boys we retract our many natural forms of personal expression. After all, most of us don’t want to stand out as the troublemakers, the ones stirring things up. Today, however, I invite you to say enough — enough to suppressing and repressing who you are, what you came here to experience, and how you wish to live your life. It is time to reawaken within ourselves our natural state of being, one rooted in liberation of the mind, body, and spirit. A state of being that allows us to express and experience our infinite and Divine potential, rather than continue to play small and hide the truth of our unique and individual magnificence.
The Weight of Living Your Truth
The importance of living our truth is one of the topics that I am always very passionate about addressing and helping people apply. Based on both experience and observation in myself and others, I have seen enough to know the negative toll that not living our truth can have on us. It suppresses our creative potential and motivation. It reduces our joy and wellbeing. It dims our inner light and radiance. It is a large contributing factor to all sorts of dis-ease that we see today, whether on a physical or mental level. Ultimately it sabotages our ability to have, feel, and live with inner peace.
I know that, all too often, human beings present to themselves and others, all sorts of convincing reasons why sacrificing their personal truth is the “right” way to go, whatever the going situation. Today, I am not so sure, however, that there is ever a justified time or reason where I could agree that sacrificing our truth outweighs the benefits of living it. Perhaps I am dismissing life or death scenarios, you may be thinking. Surely it must be better to suppress one’s truth if it means staying alive, right? At a time in the past I would have thought so. Today, I simply tie it to our fear of death and seeing it as some form of punishment or fate to be avoided at all costs, rather than the natural transition between the spiritual and physical dimensions that it is. So even if one were faced with a life or death situation, it really takes some deep soul searching to figure out what the best option may be for each individual. Luckily most of us will never be faced with choosing between living our truth or staying alive. What we will commonly be faced with, however, is choosing between living our truth or denying a part of ourselves; living our truth or illusively pleasing another.
It is all too prevalent in our society to suppress or sacrifice our truth to spare the “feelings” of another. Perhaps we hope to be politically correct, or not stir any trouble. Perhaps we can even call it an act of compassion by considering the feelings of another before our own. Unfortunately I don’t buy those scenarios either these days. We have seen enough martyrs come and go over the ages on this planet, and I feel we keep missing the point. Denying our truth always carries with it some repercussions that negatively permeate into the collective consciousness.
On the one hand, we may think that we are helping another, but on the other hand we are normally harming many more, including ourselves and the person we think we are protecting. Suppression and/or repression always builds resentment, and blocks the natural flow of energy on some level. We see the consequences of this clearly in every area of our society. For example, sexual suppression or repression leads to all sorts of imbalanced expression, in the forms of sexual violence.
So what is one to do? Speak freely, love freely, and act freely? In a perfect world perhaps, but we cannot forget we live in the “real” world where limits, rules, and boundaries of all sorts are the norm, right? But is that really what we think on a heart and soul level? Is that really the best we can do? From where I am standing we have tried that way. We have suppressed, repressed, and tried to be good little boys and girls for long enough and it really hasn’t gotten us very far or made the world a better place; the evidence is all around us.
Let us consider, instead, the potential of what life would be like if we put into action speaking freely, loving freely, and living our truth freely. It is really not that far fetched to accomplish; in fact, more and more people are doing it everyday. We have to understand that this is not some perversion of free will where the entire world goes mad. We already have that. Instead, by living, speaking, and acting from our truth, it sets the foundation for a very different way of life. When we live our truth — our heart and soul aligned truth — we instantly transform the landscape of our reality into one where love, peace, and compassion are the prevailing norms for all, not just a select few. Let’s examine how this can be possible in more depth.
A Story of Limited Potential
Let me introduce you to Kerry and Leon. They are fictional characters but their story may cast an eerie similarity to someone you know, perhaps even yourself. Kerry was longing to meet the man of her dreams and one day in her mid 20’s was introduced to Leon. Both of them felt it was love at first sight and each did everything they could to put their best foot forward during their courtship. Leon wasn’t much into the art scene, but attended every theatre and art show that Kerry suggested. Kerry did not enjoy the corporate side of life, but politely entertained all of Leon’s gatherings for his business contacts. Within two years they moved in together and Kerry had an engagement ring on her finger. Leon suggested she focus on real “jobs” to build their life together and so Kerry stopped creating her art. Her style of living was carefree and scattered, while Leon preferred rigorous routines and structure. A feeling of unease was beginning to grow within each one of them, but neither said anything for they were “in love”, about to get married, and did not want to rock the boat. Kerry became focused on having a large family, often daydreaming about the 3 or 4 kids they would have running around. Leon became focused on his career and not really interested in kids, but they figured they would work it out when the time came.
Fast forward 5 years later: Kerry was pregnant with their third child, while Leon gave up an opportunity to advance his career in another state. Kerry wanted a bigger house. Leon wanted bigger job satisfaction. Kerry wanted more help from Leon. Leon wanted a better connection with his wife. Kerry wanted a creative outlet. Leon wanted to start his own company. Each pushed aside their desires out of fear of not pushing the others’ buttons and bitterness grew within. Instead of owning up and courageously sharing their personal needs and truths, each was engaged in blaming the other for the incongruence and unhappiness they felt within. By now, surface-level heated quarrels had become the norm in their life, but they refrained from digging deeper out of fear of what may surface.
Fast forward 10-15 years later: Kerry now lives with a man she barely sees or talks to, and struggles to attend to their three children, while taking art courses at a community college. Leon feels misunderstood by his wife and after missing out on a dreamed of work opportunity begins to question their relationship. Needing an outlet of support he begins seeing a co-worker, which quickly escalates to a romantic relationship. For the first time in years, Leon feels like he can be himself. Kerry learns about Leon’s affair and files for a divorce, feeling betrayed, and hurt by the man she thought was her “destiny”. Assets are fought over, child custody is questioned, and Leon and Kerry become bitter enemies. After the divorce Leon moves out of state and Kerry feels like she has been completely abandoned. Within 6 months she finds out she has stage 3 breast cancer and falls into a deep depression.
How this story unfolds further includes many possibilities as to how these individuals will choose to live the next half of their lives through each moment from here on. And while the details will differ, the premise and pattern is one that is all too common in our society today. Whether in romantic relationships, sibling, parent, friend, or coworker relationships, we have a society of people addicted to repressing and incapable of expressing their truth in the moment it needs to be shared.
So let’s look at how we can turn this all around and live in a more harmonious way with ourselves and others.
Release Your Truth to Free Yourself and Others
The going story in society is that relationships mean sacrifice, but that idea is missing a big piece of the true essence of the purpose of relating. The best, most loving, peace-filled, and long-lasting relationships I know all have the common thread of both parties freely expressing and living their truth. This doesn’t mean that we get exactly what we want, rather, it means that we express exactly what we need. From this vantage point, both parties are in the best position to openly and honestly evaluate whether their paths would be better off together or apart. We keep thinking that doing things to satisfy the other, while sacrificing personal needs, is the way to go. I’ll just do “this” to make/keep “her” or “him” happy. However when we look around, we have to start acknowledging the obvious: it isn’t working. We cannot shut out or shut down who we are and assume that it is going to go away unnoticed.
When I observe human-to-human interactions, I am amazed at how so few people are willing to see the bigger picture or the immense impact of their actions of suppression. We are so self-absorbed by our thinking that we are acting with others in mind, that we miss seeing how our own fears keep us stuck in what we share and do, or don’t. We live out the illusion that we are sparing the feelings of another or saving them some hassle, but in truth, we are so not. We are instead perpetrating the creation of a deceptive web where no one wins.
So for a change, let’s try something new. Instead of suppressing your truth, try effectively expressing your truth. The next time you have an interaction with anyone, on any topic, or for any reason, try the new approach of sharing openly, honestly, and authentically from the heart.
If we don’t love our partners in a way that warrants us living with them or being with them in a formal union, we owe it to them (and to ourselves) to let them know. Share your truth openly. When we don’t, all the while we may keep thinking that we are sparing their feelings from being hurt, but we are in truth deceiving them about our connection, and preventing them from moving on and finding someone who would be a better match for them. So don’t fool yourself ever that by holding back your truth, you are doing it for the sake of another. No. You are doing it for your personal selfish reasons out of fear. This is not meant to be harsh, but honest. Yes, sometimes the truth may be a bit inconvenient to hear, as it bursts our illusions of comfort, habit, and security, but it is always better than deception. You are not protecting anyone, by deceiving them.
The above example about romantic relationships is just one of many everyday situations that require us to share our truth. The point is that this applies across all boards, to every and any situation, romantic, platonic, casual, business, family, or other. We are deceiving the world by holding back our truth, and in turn deceiving ourselves. We are compromising the quality of our life, not because life is compromise, but because we are putting self-limiting, unnatural restrictions upon it.
So let’s go back to Kerry and Leon. How could their story have been different? The answers are as infinite, as the choices they had in every moment of their interaction, right from the very beginning to the very end. In one timeline, Kerry and Leon realize after the third date that they really are looking for different things in their life, and part ways after sharing their personal needs and wants openly. In another timeline, Kerry and Leon separate after 4 years of giving their relationship an honest try, progressing to become great friends and supportive single parents for their kids. In yet another timeline, Kerry shares truthfully her personal concerns, or Leon his, where they realize how important they are to each other and engage in counseling and spiritual healing. The possibilities continue on and on!
The point being, that in every single situation, every day of our life, we are given choice points to change things around, to become more aligned with who we are, and what we are here for. Life can be joyous and beautiful, but we need to stop sabotaging it by suppressing our truth and blaming it on external circumstances. When we live our truth, life takes on a whole new meaning and dimension.
Consider therefore all of the areas of your own life where you are suppressing the truth of who you are, what you wish to share, and how you wish to live. Realize that this is a CHOICE you are making for YOU. It is time to stop using “the other” as the excuse, because hopefully you can see by now that the other is suffering just as much, if not more by you withholding your truth. Give your relationships an honest, open, level playing field. Be transparent so that everyone knows where they stand to give each a fair chance at living their truth. Release and free yourself, to release and free others. Only in this way can we begin to transform the world into a space of joy, peace, and compassion that supports the personal evolution of each being.
Applying the Art of Living Our Truth
Here are a few tips to help you live your truth, rather than suppress it, in common areas that involve others in our lives:
In New Relationships
When you meet a new person the surest way to attract the partner or friend most in resonance with your being and choice of experiences in this lifetime is to be yourself, rather than being who you think they want you to be, or who you think you should be, or what you think will impress them.
Every single relationship that begins or is maintained on the latter premise is built on a foundation of conflict. This is one of the biggest reasons why people find that they cannot stay together for long in romantic partnerships joyfully; once the “honeymoon” phase is over, the “act” of not being ourselves becomes too draining to keep up. The more the true essence of each person comes out, the more both parties feel deceived or out of alignment. It is at this point that most people wake up to the reality of how mismatched they are and have some tough choices to make.
Enter into a relationship (romantic, friendship, family, or coworker) by speaking, sharing, and living your truth, and you are guaranteed to attract to yourself people who are most in alignment with you and your life path. This does not mean that there will not be any challenges down the road, but the truth-based foundation will provide for effective, soul-based solutions at each point.
In Mature Relationships
Remember that we are constantly evolving and changing, and what may have been you or made sense to you at one time, may be completely different at another time. However, we need to communicate that with those closest to us who may be impacted by any of our inner and outer changes.
This may often prove to be even harder than sharing your truth at the start of a new relationship where many may feel they have “less to lose”. Most people are very habitual, quickly adapt to a way of being, and resist change. Most people also have a hard time seeing others in a new light. However, you owe it to yourself to keep evolving, rather than stagnating your potential because someone else is choosing a different journey or pace of evolution than you. So find the courage and share your truth. Whether you need a new job, found a new calling, changed your religious, political, or dietary views, or have found a partner who suits you better, you need to communicate that openly, honestly, and authentically with the person that it impacts. Repressing your truth and living from a state of fear only grows to manifest bigger challenges down the road.
In Social Settings
Wherever you may find yourself, if you get put on the spot to comment about some topic in a social setting, find the courage to share your truth. As I will share below in a moment, sharing your truth does not mean negating or putting down another human being. There are heart-centered ways of sharing our truth, but sharing it clearly nonetheless.
Tips for Authentic Expression
No matter what situation you find yourself in, and the examples are many, here are a few specific tips for engaging in open, truthful, constructive communication, which allows you to express your needs, views, and preferences. When we begin to live from this space, where we express openly rather than suppress, we give others the courage and inspiration to tap into their own truth-sharing as well. Inspire and live by example, for as you free yourself, you help liberate others to enjoy living from their space of truth.
Know your truth.
You cannot effectively share your truth if you haven’t decided who you are, what you want and need, or where you stand on certain matters. Do some soul searching, engage in some inner work, take your personal evolution seriously to learn what your truth is at any given time and be able to share it freely.
Center yourself in heart-based consciousness.
What we often say and how we say things in our everyday interactions is based on unconscious, reactive impulses; they are far removed from any kind of meaningful expressions of truth. When we think, speak, or act impulsively from a space of reactivity, we often live to regret it on some level. It could be anything from minor personal discomfort to serious consequences that may cost us our job or relationship.
We have to be sure we are tapping into heart-based truth, not Ego-based truth. Heart-based truth is liberating, Ego-based truth is limiting and fear-filled. When you share whatever you perceive your truth to be, you will know instantly by how you feel within, whether it was based on heart truth or illusory, fear-based ideas. Pay attention to your body and overall feelings, which can help guide you to learn more about yourself and instantly correct your approach in your interactions. Some people will feel discomfort in their chest, others in their intestines, others yet in their back or shoulder area. Short term, this can manifest also as trouble sleeping, and long term, it can manifest as all sorts of dis-ease conditions whether psychosomatic or real biochemical breakdowns.
You can deceive others, you can deceive your mind, but you can never deceive your body. If or when you don’t speak the truth of your heart and soul, your body will give you clear feelings about this through some discomfort.
Before you share anything, especially where serious matters are concerned, center yourself, quiet your mind, take a few conscious breaths and tap into a space of heightened awareness. We need conscious action, not unconscious reaction if we are going to be effective. If you cannot do this for whatever reason, and have the opportunity to postpone your expression, then do so; time does wonders to help us see the bigger picture with greater clarity.
Don’t take things personally.
While we’ve been considering our truth, we also have to remember that at any time someone else may share with us their truth. You cannot control what the other person may say or how they may react to your truth. That is their journey, their choice, their Karma. You are responsible for you. Remember, people do not like change, and most live deeply rooted in fear, where change is a scary thing to be avoided at all costs. Regardless, stay focused on being as honest, transparent, and receptive as you possibly can, and make anything you share be based on tip number 4 below.
Share from the heart, with love and compassion.
Sharing our truth openly does not mean being rude, inconsiderate, manipulative, or insensitive. If and when our truth is shared from the heart, it is always for the best of all involved, even if they perceive the outcome as hurtful or negative. The most important thing is to stay connected to the heart at all times and grounded in a high degree of mindfulness.
Hindsight, as we know, is always full of clarity and reason, but we can never judge the past based on present moment awareness. We have to forgive ourselves (and others) for whatever may have been said or done, and release it. Festering negative feelings and regrets within ourselves only hurts us, and very seriously at that on levels of the mind, body, and spirit. Our happiness suffers, our health suffers. Release and forgive, and simply learn to apply the highest state of heart-centered mindfulness you can today, with which to make your present actions count in the most positive way for all involved.
Also by Evita Ochel:
- Awakening to Heart-Centered Living
- When Worlds Collide: Understanding the Challenges of Life on Planet Earth
- Change the Lens Through Which You View the World
- Not All Hydration is Equal: Honor Your Body with the Best from Nature
About the author:
Evita Ochel is a consciousness expansion teacher. Her diverse passions and expertise include being a writer, speaker, holistic nutritionist, web TV host, and author of the book Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition. Her health oriented teaching focuses on natural, whole, plant-based and organic nutrition for optimal health and longevity. Her spiritually oriented teaching focuses on consciousness expansion and heart-centered living for optimal joy and inner peace.
For more, please visit: www.evitaochel.com
Evita is also the creator of several online publications: Evolving Beings, Evolving Wellness and Evolving Channels, as well as Healthytarian – a lifestyle for the well-being of the mind, body and spirit.