With it being the holidays, I know many of us, including myself, are spending more time than usual with our families.
And if, like me, you’ve found yourself on a growth path, often these times can challenge us the most as we strive to stay true to ourselves while also keeping the peace.
For me, this presented itself this past week at my Thanksgiving celebration.
As we finished dinner, one of my relatives was talking about a subject that I’ve studied in-depth, know a lot about, and most importantly, am passionate about.
That being said, I was presented with a familiar pattern:
Do I add to this conversation or do I stay silent?
For many years, I’ve chosen to stay silent, not feeling fully safe to share my inner reality (though this was because of my own inner story and not because of my family). But, as I shift into a different role with my work, I am being called to share more of myself and my work, in all of my environments, including at family dinners.
So, as this opportunity arose, I chose, maybe for the first time ever, to share something that could highlight my differences, and maybe even be isolating. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many times I’ve shared different viewpoints publicly, online or even in my book, but sharing them in a real-time conversation with someone I love who may not feel the same way, now that’s a fairly new experience for me.
You see, as a child, as so many of us learn, I was taught to be like my parents and to always agree with them. Of course, these messages were subconscious and unintentional, but either way, they had their impact:
It’s better to keep quiet than to speak your truth.
And, while it’s taken years, I’m happy to say, I am finally getting comfortable with who I really am, and with this, in pressing into my edges to be my full self in the world—especially in my conversations with the people closest to me.
So if, like me, this is something you struggle with when you’re with your family, how do we practice this in real-time?
First, we must realize when we are holding something back and contracting ourselves with our family. As part of this, what’s going on inside your head? What is your body feeling? Why is it feeling this way? What are you scared is going to happen? Is this true or just a story you’ve told yourself to feel safe? Whatever the case, it’s important to take note of this, and maybe even to sit with it or journal about it later before saying anything.
2.Make a decision.
Once you’ve become aware of what you are doing, if, like me, you’re on a journey to being your truest self, you’ll need to decide if this is something you want to share with your family in that moment or not. Just because you want to be your full self doesn’t mean that gathering is the time or place or you want to share this piece of you with them. Only you can decide this, but whatever the case, take your time to make a mindful decision.
If it feels right, I encourage you to share as much or little as you’d like. I always say everything is practice, so if you’re new to this, you may first need to start by simply having the awareness that you are contracting yourself and understanding why. If this is something you’ve become aware of, though, and you desire to change it, speaking your truth, no matter how small or big, is an important step to being your fullest self, keeping in mind, every step you take brings you closer to this.
Also, if you’re somewhere in between, one of my favorite steps, once you’re at home, is to imagine the person you’d like to speak your truth to in front of you. Then, as if they were there, say what you’d like to say (or wish you had said) out loud, as if it was happening in real-time. This helps rewire your body, so that at some point, you will feel more comfortable speaking your truth in the moment.
And, if you’re looking to dive deeper into healing your relationships, I invite you to attend my Complimentary Putting an End to Painful Relationships Masterclass, which you can find out more about and sign-up for here.
To being your true self everywhere—and with—everyone.