Laura’s Day 57 – Speaking Your Truth Instead of Stuffing It

Today, if the opportunity arises to speak your truth from Essence rather than the ego, go for it!

Expressing negative emotions and reacting negatively to others is hurtful, but sharing truthfully what we’re feeling, experiencing, or thinking, from a place of balance and calm can gives others helpful information and aligns everyone with Essence. In this way, it can be positive and useful. Here’s an example from my life:

A friend and I had plans to meet. I arrived at the prearranged time and place, but my friend was nowhere to be seen. I waited for ten minutes, and still no friend. When I called to ask her what happened, she responded that she’d had a change of plans. This response upset me because:

1. She changed our plans without letting me know ahead of time.

2. Ten minutes after our meeting time she still hadn’t called, and I had to call her to find out what was going on.

3. If I had known that she wasn’t planning to come, I could have called someone else.

Here are two possible responses, one that could lead to compulsive eating, and one that represents a more balanced response:

Stuffing my feelings and pretending there is no problem:
I can pretend that it’s not a problem and stuff my feelings. After all, I don’t want to make her mad or make her think that I disapprove of her. If I tell her the truth, she may not want to be my friend anymore.

“No problem. These things happen. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

Expressing myself in a balanced way (after any anger has subsided):

1. I can factually express the truth: “Sarah we had plans, remember?”
2. I can express my feelings and how her behavior impacted me: “I feel disappointed that you didn’t tell me sooner because I could have invited someone else.”
3. I can tell her what I want. I can let her know what I’d like her to do in the future:
“Next time, please let me know ahead of time if you need to make a change.”
4. I can let her know how her behavior has affected my feelings about the relationship: “Sarah, when you do things like this, it makes it hard for me to stay open to you, and I want to let you know that I will be doing my own work on this as well.” Including this depends on the nature of the relationship. For instance, this might not be appropriate to say to someone in a work situation.

Speaking Essence’s truth is cathartic and healing, diffuses conflict, and actually brings us closer to others, while speaking the ego’s truth separates, inflames, and escalates conflict. We know we are speaking the ego’s truth when we find ourselves blaming, name-calling, making generalizations, and judging. In speaking the ego’s truth, we act out and defend our conditioning; in speaking Essence’s truth, we take responsibility for it.

To be clear, by expressing how we feel, we’re not asking the other person to change. Sometimes, to be able to be with and our anger or some other emotion rather than repress it, we need to express ourselves from Essence. This could take the form of asking for what we want in the future (e.g., “I’d appreciate it if….”). This isn’t the same thing as telling someone he or she has to change, which can sound judgmental and angry. How we say things and where the words are coming from make all the difference.

When we acknowledge our weaknesses or admit we’re having trouble releasing something, this is coming from Essence, since the ego doesn’t admit to its failings. You might say, “This is going on for me, and it’s interfering with my ability to feel close to you, and I’m working on it.”

When we’re stuck in an unresolved feeling and having difficulty moving on, asking the other person for an apology can help. You can simply say, “It would really make a difference to me to have an apology. If that’s something you feel you could do, I think that would help me feel better.” Apologies move both parties into Essence, whether we’re on the giving or receiving end.
By Laura Katleman-Prue, author of Skinny Thinking

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Filed under life challenges, men and healthy eating, men's health, portion size

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