Learning to speak our truth and empowering ourselves to speak up for ourselves is one of our greatest challenges, especially when we’re still struggling with addiction and mental health issues. We don’t feel confident and self-assured when we’re grappling with such intense emotional difficulties. We don’t feel secure, grounded, centered or at peace within ourselves, and the anxiety around expressing ourselves can feel too overwhelming. Many of us shy away from speaking our truth. We silence ourselves and let people dictate things for us, push us around and control us. We tolerate dishonesty, manipulation and harm, and we let people get away with all kinds of mistreatment. How can we learn to speak our truth?
When we silence ourselves, it is often based on fear – fear of confrontation, fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy. We fear the anxiety, heightened emotion and conflict that can come with confrontation. We’re afraid of what people might think of us. We dread being criticized and shunned. Deep down we’re afraid we’re not good enough, not worthy, not deserving of respect. We avoid standing up for ourselves as much as possible. In order to learn how to speak our truth, in a conflict or otherwise, we have to face these fears.
Look at why you’re afraid to speak up for yourself and try to examine what underlying fears you’re experiencing. Write them down and reflect on them. When we confront them head on rather than trying to avoid them, we give them less power over us. When we have resistance to them, when we try to fight them, we let them overpower us, but when we face them, we reclaim our power. Affirm to yourself that you are strong enough to handle any kind of confrontation, no matter how emotional it might get. There is nothing wrong with being nervous, showing emotion, or even crying. What’s most important is that you’re able to verbalize your truth. “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn
Similarly, confront your fears of being judged and rejected. Remind yourself, firstly, that all of your fears are normal and natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Tell yourself that anyone meant to be in your life will love, accept and respect you unconditionally, and that no argument or conflict can divide people meant to stay connected. Try to love yourself so fully that no one else’s judgment matters to you anymore. Embrace yourself, honor your fears by letting yourself feel them, and then do your best to push through them. Speaking your truth is one of the ways we empower ourselves, and when we feel empowered, we stand a much better chance of being able to heal from the fears and painful issues fueling our addictions and mental illnesses.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.