This is another one of those concepts that has been adulterated by many in spiritual circles. What it actually refers to is living in integrity. Fully, and consciously, expressing your gifts, without repression. It has come to mean, however, vocalizing an opinion, or ego-dumping; neither of which are very conscious, or have anything to do with truth.
Society has devolved into communication through opinion, and the loudest ones win. A schoolyard of unconscious ruckus, serving no other purpose than ego gratification. I got a wonderful piece of advise from a senior contract negotiator once: If it feels good, don’t say it. I have to admit, that phrase has popped into my head on numerous occasions, and it is always fitting. Ego gratification always feels good. This is the first way to tell the difference between ego and truth. If you “just need to get it off your chest”, then it is ego. Always.
This isn’t to say that if you are feeling oppressed in some way you shouldn’t take a stance. Better boundaries and personal shadow work are probably screaming for your attention, but those are both inner struggles. Don’t make them someone else’s problem through blame. Blame is simply saying, “My power is getting too heavy for me. Hold my baggage, would you?” Blame is always a relinquishment of personal power, whether it’s blaming an individual, a circumstance, a figurehead, or a deity. Accepting your power, in order to operate from integrity, requires a commitment to self-work. Know thyself, then make the appropriate adjustments. After some of the personal shadows are cleared, and better boundaries are in place, you may be surprised how little you actually have to say to the people in your life.
One last thought on ego-dumping… you can’t unring a bell. Once you have spewed words in anger, there may be apologies and forgiveness, but you can never take those words back. Children are extremely susceptible to harsh words, but they affect even the most stoic among us. It is irresponsible, and just plain mean, to expect others to deal with your shadows for you. Some say this is what relationships are for. If you believe this, ask yourself why. Conditioning? Old patterns? Hurt people, hurt people. Healed people, heal people. Heal yourself, before you speak. It’s that simple.
Speaking your truth is really about fully being who you are, at a soul level. This may involve art or activism, or both. The only person stopping you, is you. You may be silencing yourself by choosing to be close to people who strongly disapprove of who you really are. If you are gay, but choose to hang out with conservative religious folks, then you are building your own cage. It’s ok to let go and move on. This is the real work of speaking your truth – embodying it. You need to take responsibility for creating a space to flourish. Only you know your truth, and only you can express it.
Boundaries are a big deal here. Instead of thinking of it as keeping “bad” influences out, think of it as making a strong circle to hold the “good” close to you. Surround yourself with supportive people. Prioritize you schedule to include what keeps you truly fulfilled. Take small steps each day, even just mentally, toward the future you. Use your energy to focus and discover and create your truth. Look at situations that make you feel repressed or stagnant, and take personal responsibility to change them. Change is a good thing in personal evolution.
With all the shadow work and letting go involved, speaking your truth is usually a long and difficult process. People who encourage you to “just speak you truth” don’t really understand what they’re saying. It may take years of shedding old beliefs before you even know what your truth is. That’s ok. Then it may take several more years for you to accept that you need to find a tribe that supports you. That’s ok, too. All this change and letting go really isn’t that hard, once you start to accept your own truth. As your free will begins to align with Divine Will, your frequency begins to change, and life changes with it. Don’t focus on the outside, just bring yourself into integrity.
No one else has your gifts. No one else expresses the same way you do. Your voice is vital. Speaking your truth is living as your higher calling. It’s walking the walk, when the ego just wants to talk the talk. Your are needed, you are supported, you are loved. Let your voice be heard.