Sparkle and Shine
Speak Your Truth
By Joan Bender
Speak your truth. Stand up to adversaries. I sat down a couple of times to write this month's article. Each time I set an intention and sat in meditation. Each time these two themes came through, but nothing else. This last time, when I set my intention and let my mind go, I was taken back 30 years to eleventh grade English class and a day when I stood up for myself and spoke my truth.
My English teacher was a man with a sarcastic sense of humor. He had a process where we would hand in our writing, and he would give it back to us with a grade and comments. Then, he would give us time in class to make corrections and resubmit it for a possible new grade. The problem, in my eyes, was that his comments were put downs rather than instructive feedback. Put downs hold us back. They deplete our soul's energy and stunt our creativity. I don't remember what my essay was about, but I do remember that on this particular day, I was fed up with his comments and decided I was going to let him know. I'm not sure if it was his "yawn" comment or his "blah, blah, blah" comment that triggered my inner fire, but things started bubbling up from way down deep and I let loose.
I responded to his every comment and respectfully let him know that I would appreciate more constructive, instruction in the future. I can remember the satisfaction I felt, standing in my power and speaking up to this bully. I also remember feeling a little scared, not knowing what his reaction might be and what consequences were to come. I was trapped in this relationship, and he had the power to make my life miserable. I decided that I should probably prepare my mother for what might come.
My mother reacted exactly as I thought she would. She was mortified. In her eyes, I was disrespectful to an elder, and she didn't raise me to be disrespectful. My mother grew up in Europe during World War II where speaking up against abusive power could lead to dire consequences. Here again, I stood in my power and spoke my truth, this time to my mother. I explained that my teacher would receive my respect once he was respectful toward me. Oh, I can still see the tormented look on my mother's face, shifting back and forth between proud and worried.
When I returned to English class, something had shifted. To my surprise, my teacher admired that I stood up for myself. I was treated different from that day on. His comments became more positive and constructive, and I gained greater respect for speaking my truth. Words are powerful. They can build us up, or they can tear us down. We always have the choice to speak our truth, and we always have the choice to use loving words.
Written by Joan Bender
New York, USA
I was 1 of 50 inspirational women chosen to be a monthly contributor to the new e-magazine, Luminous Wisdom: Sophia. This space is dedicated to those monthly articles. The name of my column is Sparkle & Shine. You can learn more about the publication at http://www.sibellapublications.com/