This week has been filled with reminders for me to Speak My Truth. On Monday, when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of nearly all of his charges of sexual abuse, I was incredibly proud of the immense courage it took for the young men to stand up and speak their truth, especially in such a public setting. They were heard and believed. As a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I am proud to see that they stood strong against the defense’s questions and were believed by a jury of their peers. What an amazing reflection of the power of Speaking Your Truth.
On the other side of this case, you are met with more and more suspicion of Penn State administrators not speaking their truth. While we don’t know exactly what they knew or didn’t know, it seems to me that they knew more than they had said. They chose to keep themselves safe and comfortable, rather than speak their truth and keep the young men safe. It is not easy to speak your truth, especially if it may not be believed or may cause upset or conflict. But if it’s the right thing to do in your heart, then it needs to be done. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
It takes an incredible amount of courage, because often we are trying to avoid the conflict or drama that may ensue with speaking our truth. Well…that is what I am usually avoiding. Even though I know that speaking my truth and saying what is there for me is the best thing I can do to truly relieve my suffering, I still find myself swallowing my words and suffering in silence.
This last month, I have found myself in many moments where I have wanted to speak my truth at work, in my relationship or in life in general, but have said nothing, sat in silence. Many nights and weekend it look like me laying on the couch doing absolutely NOTHING, struggling between calling on a friend to seek support and Speak My Truth and wanting to avoid the feelings just under the surface. I didn’t want to look at them and I know I didn’t have the time to do it. But the feelings still lingered. I could numb them out for a while, but they always remained just under the surface waiting for the next trigger to re-open the wound.
So finally in the last few days I have been willing to do some exploratory surgery on this wound hiding under the surface. Yes, there were tears and ugly feelings that surfaced. However, what was revealed, as usual, that my fears and judgments about the situation and Speaking My Truth is what was creating most of my suffering and paralysis. If I can show some compassion for myself, for my silence and the situation, I have more freedom and courage to explore and address the pain.
While it often takes something to deal with the aftermath of Speaking Your Truth, because the wound is now exposed and needing attention, it is the only way to truly begin to heal. The band-aid of avoidance just isn’t doing it anymore.
I want to thank the young men of the Sandusky trial for their courage to Stand Up and Speak their Truth. I hope that it inspires more people, as it did for me, to stand up and speak out in whatever ways they have been silenced. We all deserve to live a life filled with more power than pain.