Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Post: Speaking Your Truth

This is a guest post by our Seattle area counselor.  You can read about what is available to former Mars Hill members here: An Exciting Opportunity

I won’t even be able to begin to scratch the surface of all the dynamics that go into the battle women (and men) face in speaking their own truth (which has been so poignantly exemplified through the stories shared on MarsHillRefuge), but I will say that it is among the list of most powerful things one could do in this life.  There is too much research today about what happens in the body and/or relationships when anger, sadness, and shame are silenced.

As Poet Muriel Rukeyser writes, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”

In the work that I do with clients, we continue, over and over again, to be with the emotions that the client has not allowed themselves to feel, out of reasons that they have come to, be it because they were punished for those emotions, they are afraid that the emotions will overtake them, they realize their life might be impacted if they do, or fill in the blank with the reason you use when you feel your emotion and then choose to move away from it.  When we work with these thoughts and feelings, a beautiful thing occurs—healing!  Clients realize that they can tell their story.  And when clients are able to speak freely of their experience, they find that they enjoy life more fully, they are able to maintain intimate relationships with deeper satisfaction and overall, are able to navigate through their lives with more ease.

“You think you can avoid [pain], but actually you can’t.  If you do, you just get sicker, or you feel more pain.  But if you can speak it, if you can write it, if you can paint it, it is very healing”  --Alice Walker

So what?  Why am I writing about this here?  In power dynamics, such as church systems in which men and women are slotted to speak a specific truth, even if that is contrary to what they may think or feel internally, the ability to tell one’s truth becomes near impossible.  Confusion sets in and folks experience cognitive dissonance.  They feel one reality to be true and yet are left trying to understand why that felt reality seems so contrary to what they are seeing lived out around them.  Perhaps the reason why MarsHillRefuge is such a refuge is because it truly is opening up a glimpse for folks that they can speak their truth, and that speaking their truth does help in some way.

So, while I can’t write what that specific truth may be for you, I can say that your truth is important.  I can also say that your truth is meant to be lived out with others—be it your spouse, community, church, work, school—others need your truth as much as you do.

Women will starve in silence until new stories are created which confer on them the power of naming themselves.  Sarah Gilbert & Susan Gubar 

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