Speak Your Truth, But Be Forewarned…
Speak your truth.
Yes, it’s true, we should all be allowed to speak our truth. Freedom of speech, after all! But just like freedom of speech, speaking your truth does not mean that you are protected from the consequences. Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one. Experiences are filtered through your beliefs, which happen to be the foundation of your opinions.
You see, it’s your truth, not the truth. Your truth is just a version, an interpretation of the Truth, and it can be as close to the absolute Truth or as far away from the absolute Truth as your current place in your spiritual evolution allows you to understand. And that’s the truth ;).
But we should be able to be who we are and believe what we believe!
Yes, that’s true, too, so long as you take one thing into consideration:
You have to be prepared for the inevitable lesson that what you find to be an absolute truth today will eventually no longer be so at some point in the future.
That’s the nature of evolution. Things change. You find out new information and what you once thought was a solid experience suddenly is seen in a new light, and you realize that perhaps what you originally thought wasn’t quite the way it actually was.
The problem with “speak your truth” is that people can become attached to that experience, and dependent on that experience, and they incorporate that experience into part of their identity, and then later when they find new information that broadens their original view, it creates an internal crisis, and they fall apart. The hard lesson learned.
I find that the best way to handle such things is to find a healthy balance between belief and skepticism, remain detached from the experience itself and refrain from making any conclusions about intuitive information until such a time as you’ve gotten “all the facts” so to speak.
Simply hold that thing as a possibility that may be proven right – or wrong – at any point in the near future. File it away under the “curios information” folder and see what else accumulates as you go along.
Spiritual Teachers Are Responsible to More People Than Just Themselves
Speaking your truth takes on a whole new meaning when you become a spiritual teacher. As any kind of digital influencer, people with platforms are community leaders who have placed themselves in positions of authority. Having those platforms is a form of power and influence, and to quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Once again, even as a spiritual leader, our truth is not always the Truth. If we present our truth as the Truth we then leave the territory of personal opinion into recommendation.
As a spiritual teacher and digital influencer, you have a greater responsibility than simply to yourself. You have a responsibility to your community. That responsibility comes with the ability to both heal and harm people with the ideas that you share–particularly during a global health emergency–because you’ve built a community of people who look to you as someone who has knowledge.
When we reach this point, we are living our lives in service to the collective. It’s no longer about us. And that’s the life we choose.
If we want to go back to a life of “I can say whatever I want and share my opinions without consequence,” then we need to step away from being a community leader.
What kind of truth am I talking about exactly? Here’s a real life example:
My attention was brought to an online “spiritual” women’s coach with a large audience on Facebook who made a post chastising women who experienced coerced rape as having porous boundaries and told them, “Regret isn’t rape.”
Anyone who is even remotely trauma-informed, has a background in psychology, or is simply educated about rape culture knows how much shame and guilt rape victims deal with. For one of them to then go online and see a person that they respect and and whose opinion they believe is “Truth” to effectively validate their worst fear–that what someone else did to them was their fault–is incredibly harmful, and extremely ignorant on behalf of this “coach” who has claimed that they are here to heal people.
Said coach is entitled to her opinion. I might even go so far as to say that this coach has likely experienced coerced rape at some point in her life and internalized her own shame and guilt around it, has convinced herself that it was her fault for not having better boundaries (newsflash: the only people who take advantage of people with bad boundaries are people who have no respect for boundaries. I.e. abusers) and is now projecting her own experience onto other women. Not to mention she is only holding the victim accountable and more or less absolving the abuser of any wrongdoing in the process.
But as a coach and a healer, she has a responsibility to her audience and her paying clients to educate herself about women’s issues, and to be responsible with what she says in that regard. Her careless victim shaming can lead someone into a shame spiral that ends in suicide.
No, as individuals, we aren’t directly responsible for another person’s thoughts or feelings or choices. But our actions and words do contribute to the climate that people live in which informs their thoughts about themselves, and as coaches, healers, influencers and the like, we hold a form of power over the people who look up to us as a role model and it is our duty to wield that power responsibly so that we, ourselves, do not become an abuser toward the people we are purporting to help.
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