Patnaude Coaching

Speak Your Truth

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I’ve had a lifetime of being told to be quiet. From an early age, I had opinions. Loud ones. My hard-wired nature emboldened me to speak up about them. That was especially true when it came to being told what to do. And even more especially true when I already knew what to do but hadn’t been given a chance to do it yet. Despite my nature, nurture told me to sit down and be quiet. Be small. Don’t offend. Don’t say that. Don’t upset anyone. And certainly don’t speak your truth.

It didn’t stick.

No matter how much I wanted to make my mother and other adults around me happy by complying, I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to explain it then, but now I chalk it up to my hard-wiring. My childhood was followed by adulthood full of the same kinds of tactics to get me to be quiet. I can resist the urge to speak up now some of the time, but I can’t sustain it for long. Back then, I simply couldn’t resist it seemingly ever. 

Telling someone like me to stay quiet doesn’t make us actually stay quiet. All it does is introduce a shame narrative. In my own experience, that sounds like feeling bad for having an opinion. Or ashamed for having an opinion. Or feeling angry that I can’t express that opinion. Telling me to sit down and be quiet doesn’t work. It just pisses me off.

Speak your truth anyway.

I can hear the criticism already. 

“You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.”

“You’re disrespecting your mother’s memory.”

“Wow, you should have tried harder.”

But will that actually be what people think of this honest and true account of what kind of hell I lived through caring for my mother? Or is that my shame narrative talking?

I’ve never been much of a people-pleaser. But that doesn’t mean I’m not sensitive to negative or harsh feedback. I just want to speak my truth. When we were living through the nightmare that was my mother’s disease, I was desperate to read someone else’s story that told me I wasn’t the only one. I didn’t find it at the time, so I’ve tried to write it.

What’s your truth?

I’ve talked before about speaking up, even when your voice shakes. Your opinion, your story, your idea, or whatever you have to say may not always be popular. That’s okay. We need to let go of this idea that whatever comes out of our mouths (or pens) has to be pleasing to others. If it’s your truth, take a deep breath and say it. You’ll find that you’re much less alone in your experience, viewpoint, or thinking than you might realize.

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