For the past 6 months everytime I heard “speak your truth” on one of many personal growth podcasts I subscribe to, I thought I had that practice down. HA! I finally decided to speak my truth recently, in a manner that forced me to be truly vulnerable. The results have been nothing short of life-changing, and I hope this inspires you to do the same.
I started writing this blog several months ago. I vowed to be honest and open with any readers who might come across it on their Google and social media travels. The goal was simply to connect with others out there who are coping with an “invisible” struggle, including but not limited to autoimmunity, disordered eating, anxiety, perfectionism, and people pleasing. It was cathartic to put my long-buried experiences and emotions to (virtual) paper, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders as soon as I pressed Publish for the first time.
That being said, there was still a fear that I breathed life into as I continued to post. We often fear in others what we don’t want to face within ourselves. I feared judgment because I am still working on detoxifying myself from a chronically judgmental mindset. For many years I felt worthy of passing judgment on others (this clearly stemmed from insecurity), but the thought of others judging me was paralyzing. At some point in my developing years I stopped believing Mr. Rogers. How could someone like me exactly the way I am? I don’t even like me when I am bending over backwards to be perfect. I had to be liked by others because I didn’t have the clarity or compassion to like myself.
This fear no longer affected my writing as I began the process of healing, but it absolutely influenced how I chose to share my truth. My laptop served as a moat between myself and those with whom I longed to connect. Initially, I didn’t think this was negative. I felt like it was protection from their possible judgment, a coat of armor against the potentially negative opinions of those around me. However, I slowly began to realize that I was avoiding direct communication, especially with people I knew personally. Of course I have shared some of these details with very close friends, but the large majority of individuals in my life were aware of very little, if any, of my true story.
Last week I had a moment of courage. I wish I could pinpoint what spurred it, but I really have no idea. The universe works in mysterious ways sometimes. Since March is autoimmune awareness month, I had been meaning to write more about my journey from diagnosis to present day. Then, as I procrastinated by mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I had an idea. Instead of writing another post that day, I should just share what I have already written with my friends and family. I know just how strong my fear-inducing ego is, so I quickly typed a little blurb and shared this post on my Facebook page before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.
I then closed Facebook and hid my phone under my keyboard for the rest of the workday. I considered deleting the post no less than 10 times over the next few hours, but somehow I had the strength to just have faith. I trusted my actions in those 5 minutes that I had nerves of steel.
What Happened When I Finally Shared my Truth?
- By the time 5 pm rolled around over 150 people liked my post, and I had 25 heartfelt comments.
- I received 11 messages from friends who I have not spoken to in years about their own struggle with autoimmune disease, not a single one of which I was aware of.
- I scheduled a phone date with one particular friend from college who has been battling RA with no relief for over a year. She’s now seeking out a functional medicine practitioner.
- I got an early morning text from a friend who came to the realization that she has been falling into a pattern of disordered eating. She is seeking treatment and thanked me for sharing my story about a topic that is still alarmingly taboo.
- I received almost 20 emails from individuals I have never met, mostly friends of my friends and family, asking me for more information about what has helped me begin to heal.
What did this inspire me to do?
- I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition with the goal of becoming a certified health coach. I have been interested in this program for years, but after hearing the hopelessness in the emails and calls I received, I realized there is a drastic need for more holistic health coaches. The path of healing goes far beyond taking a pill or trying a new product guaranteed fix all of your problems. Trust me, a magical solution does not exist. I have sunk plenty of time and money into these before I accepted that I needed to be an active and present participant in my own healing.
- I hired a nutritionist to help me with tackling some of the symptoms I have not yet been able to overcome. I want to put my best foot forward as a coach, and this means asking for help for my own healing when needed. I can’t wait to see what progress I am able to make, and more importantly, what I am able to learn about myself and holistic nutrition in the process.
- I have made a vow to be more honest in other areas of my life. I do believe there is a difference between what is personal and what is intimate so there are some things I will always keep close. However, I have faced many challenges that I once hid from others. I now know that these life lessons are better served in the aid of others than festering in silence.
- I am going to start giving people a lot more credit. I was so scared of the judgment of others, and I received nothing but support and praise when I decided to share my story. People were forthcoming with their own silent struggles, and I felt like I had gotten a warm hug after standing alone in a cold empty room for years. I have a newfound faith in humanity.
The lesson here is to share your truth. Tell your story. I am a just a girl living in Texas with an interesting set of life circumstances that led me to be extremely passionate about holistic health. My little story has already made an impact that I could not have imagined. My ability to share my journey, dark chapters and all, has helped at least a handful of people. That’s more than I could ever ask for in this life. It’s also given me renewed passion and energy to serve my purpose.
In the words of one of my heroes, Brené Brown…