I am currently reading Cheryl Strayed’s book Tiny Beautiful Things. It’s a collection of posts from her time as popular advice columnist Sugar. In one of the chapters she writes these words,
“An ethical and evolved life entails telling the truth about oneself and living out that truth.”
It took me a few seconds to move on to the rest of the chapter after reading those powerful words. To live an evolved life, a life that honors the best of who you are while also acknowledging the not-so-pretty parts of you involves telling the truth.
I talk a lot about truth telling with my clients. I believe there is a deep knowing that comes from unapologetically owning your truth and living into that truth. But I also know that truth telling is hard.
We want to tie life up in a pretty pink bow and present only the shiny parts of ourselves. We erroneously believe it is the only the pretty-to-look-at parts of our story that matter. But the darker, less shiny parts of you matters too.
The Shadows Matter
Your battle with addiction, be it alcohol, a controlled substance, or sugar/chocolate, matters. Your need to constantly be in control and the negative impact it is having on your life…that matters. The insecurities you hide behind your false bravado, it all matters.
In art, shadows add depth and contrast to an image often making it a more powerful image. The same is true of your life.
To pretend those shadow parts are not there is to disown a huge part of you. To ignore them in favor of the prettier parts is to tell only a partial story. It is not the whole truth of who you are and without telling the whole truth, you end up living out a story that lacks depth, meaning, and richness.
You Are More
I am not advocating that you focus your attention only on the shadows. I know how easy it is to look at those parts of you and believe they disqualify you on some level.
Your temptation to hide your shadowy parts is born of the belief that if anyone saw that side of you, they would think less of you. But you are more than your shadow parts. You are more than the subtotal of your flaws and shortcoming.
You are ALSO more than all your achievements and successes. The full measure of who you are as a person and the value you add to those around you cannot be measured in the size of your bank account, the type of car you drive, or the size of your house.
You are more than just the light or just the dark parts of your story.
Practice Truth Telling
To own and fully accept every part of your story takes courage. Not necessarily the big, loud form of courage but rather the soft, quiet, “I’ll try again” form of courage.
Here are 3 things to help you practice the art of soulful truth telling:
Find your people
Not everyone has earned the right to hear your story. Find the people who feel the safest to you and invite them to hear your story. I don’t mean all at once like you’re throwing up on them, but gradually let them see the parts of you that you’ve kept hidden in the dark.
Baby steps count
Some parts may feel too tender to share right away and that’s okay. You can begin as small as you need to with as few people as feel best to you. The point is that you take the risk to share a previously unknown part of you with someone close to you.
Expect the hangover
Vulnerability hangover is a real thing so don’t be surprised when it shows up. It’s the “oh god I shouldn’t have shared that” feeling that floods your system after you’ve shared something vulnerable. When it happens, breathe through it and know that the feeling will pass.
Truth telling can be hard but anything less isn’t worth it. My wish for you today is that you will embrace the courage to own every part of your story, love yourself through the process and always speak your truth.
Here’s to you rising into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
If you’re struggling to own and speak your truth and you would like some support let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary call with me today where we can discuss what life could look like for you to stand unapologetically in your truth.