“Courage means telling the truth of ourselves from our whole being.” Patrick Cameron
Yep, it’s another quote from the Integration Conference, spoken in the seminar on leadership held for ministerial students. About the same time as I heard this quote, I heard another concept from one of my teachers, also in a leadership class. She said that we should not use “expressing our truth” as a means to bully others.
So…I’ve been thinking some about this truth and courage stuff. I know that in the past I have been guilty of expressing my truth to try and control and manipulate others. Setting boundaries is another concept where there is a very fine line between attempts at control, manipulation and bullying, and taking care of ourselves. The line is drawn in that area between speaking in the first person (“I” statements) and speaking in the second person (“you” statements). Yet it has been my experience that even first person statements can sometimes be a thinly veiled attempt at bullying, or attempts to control and manipulate. I’ve seen relationships destroyed because one person disguised attempts at control as setting boundaries.
So what is the answer? How do we know our own truth, and express it in such a way that we honor ourselves without venturing into the land of attempts at control, manipulation and bullying?
If you have been reading this column for a while you know the answer: do your spiritual practices! In this case, going within through the practices of meditation and journaling seem to be the most effective. When we go within on such a deep level, we know what our truth is. And we will feel the difference between courageously expressing that truth or venturing into that fearful place where we try to control, manipulate or bully others. On some level, it does not feel good when we go beyond simply expressing our truth.
Another part of the answer comes from that ancient wisdom expressed in the Course In Miracles: there are really only two states of being, love and fear. We are either in a state of love, or a state of fear, and we will always react from that place. Learn to recognize what fear looks like for you, so that you can move back into a state of love when it happens. Learn the spiritual practices that work best for you to move from fear to love. Love means we do not need to try and control or manipulate any situation or bully anyone. Love means we can rest easily in our beingness and KNOW that all is well, no matter what. Love means we can simply honor ourselves, and take care of ourselves. Love does indeed conquer all.