It’s easy to be ourselves and speak our truth when we are surrounded by like-minded people.
It’s natural to feel at home with who we are when life around us is all smooth sailing.
But what about when we are confronted with the difficult people in our lives? You know the peeps I’m talking about. The ones you feel unhinged around within the first few minutes of being in their company. The ones you can think of and immediately feel the heat rise as you recall that thing they said or did. Around our trigger people, it can feel challenging to stay on our highest path.
And then what about all of the injustices in the world? How do we stand strong in our truth when what’s fair and right isn’t what’s unfolding around us? How do we hold onto our truth when we witness tragedies that are hard to wrap our minds around?
It seems the real question underneath of it all is: How do we hang on to who we are in the moments when everything feels like it’s falling apart around us?
Clearly there isn’t an easy answer or solution to this sizable question and position we all face at some point or another.
The truth is, there are lots of answers that can help. Perhaps building a resilient spirit is the key. Or maybe shutting off all of the noise will bring relief. It might be a strong sense of faith in a higher power that helps us hold on during hard times. It could be taking a stand and fighting for justice that helps us stay firmly grounded. And maybe a combination of all the above will help us stay standing in our truth.
But when we are in the thick of the storm, what can we do in the moment to ease the load?
When we are standing before that difficult person and they make that underhanded comment, or they do that thing that triggers us and we begin to come unglued – what can we do right then to stay standing in our truth?
Let’s start by looking at what standing in our truth means.
I like to view standing in my truth as staying firmly rooted in who I am – rooted as though I am a wise old oak tree.
You see, a wise old oak tree is exposed to all of the elements at unexpected moments throughout its lifetime. Over time, the tree will undoubtedly become worn and weathered. Yet, as long as it’s living, it stays firmly rooted in being a tree. It all sounds a bit silly, like what else could it be?
It doesn’t matter if children climb the tree, or swing from the tree’s branches. Nothing really changes if birds and squirrels make the tree their home.
These outside elements are simply part of the tree’s story and history. The tree is still a tree, firmly planted in the ground, no matter what is happening around it or to it.
The tree doesn’t attempt to hide what it is or pretend to be something it isn’t during a lightning storm. Instead the tree sways with the winds and storms knowing its roots go much deeper than what’s happening on the surface.
If it’s helpful to imagine you’re rooted in your truth, much like a wise old oak tree – then do that. In the meantime, here are 3 additional practices I use to stay standing in my truth when it feels really hard to do so. If they speak to you, give them a try next time you find yourself feeling untethered in one of life’s storms.
As human beings we are meant to have connection with other human beings. Our humanity is the common thread that connects us all (yes even to the difficult people). When we come across people we feel triggered by, we have a choice. We can choose to see the person before us with all of their strengths and weaknesses – as a human being just like us. Or we can choose to continue focusing on all of the reasons why we don’t feel good around them.
If focusing on the positive doesn’t feel like the right choice in the moment, that’s okay too. Another option is to take a deep intentional breath into seeing yourself as a human being with strengths and weaknesses – as a person worthy of standing exactly where you are, regardless of who or what is before you.
When we realize who we are never wavers, it’s easier to stand strong and protect the truth of who we are. We can connect inward and find comfort in our rootedness. We can also disconnect from our truth, which usually causes us to feel at a deep loss. Either way, our truth always exists just below the surface – we can tether to it if we choose.
Whether we connect to our truth or not, challenging people and circumstances will be part of our life journey. The greater the challenge, the greater the lessons and growth we receive.
With practice we can experience the difficult people and situations before us as strange gifts wrapped up in weird little bows – here to add something unexpected and colourful along our life adventure.
2. Create Rituals
By nature, human beings are drawn to rituals and customs that help us feel like we’re rooted to something meaningful.
We can create our own tool box of unusual and wonderful rituals to draw on when we start to feel unhinged. For example, when I know I’m walking into a situation where there are potential triggers, I wear something that will serve as a physical reminder to breathe and hold space. Sometimes holding space is about the other person. It’s about making room for the other person to be in their truth no matter how messy or offensive it can seem. It’s about witnessing that person without attaching to their stories. Other times, it’s about holding space for myself – to put a protective barrier around me and to feel held together in what can feel like shark infested territory.
The idea with rituals is to create your own so they are personally meaningful and accessible when you need them most. Your rituals could be around setting intentions or wearing something that reminds you to stay rooted in who you are. Your rituals might have to do with mantras or a word that reminds you of the essence of your truth. It could be something you do that connects you to your faith and belief in a higher power. There is no right or wrong way to create your rituals.
The greater point is to get to know yourself really well so you can be your best resource during trying times. Create a list with all of your sources of joy and support. Get well-versed in knowing what rituals and support is helpful to you. What is your source of faith? What are your core values? Name the essence of your values so it’s easier to remember them when you’re floundering and need a quick way to find your ground.
There is no end to what you could add to your list or how you create your rituals. They could be related to sight, sound, smell, being in nature, taking 3 deep breaths, doing 5 jumping jacks, wiggling your ears – I don’t know, it’s your list. Make it as wonderfully weird as you are. Make it stick.
3. Tap Into Humour
Laughing something off doesn’t make it go away, but man does it feel good to laugh from the depths of who we are.
Sometimes bad stuff happens and it happens to all kinds of good people. It’s hard to make sense of the hard stuff with our minds and our hearts – trying to bring logic to illogical circumstances only dampens our spirits. Without a reprieve, we can lose our faith in the magic of life itself.
The only way through really hard times, is to get through – it takes time and it’s a process. Being gentle with ourselves is a must. Another must, is to carve out spaces that feel right to find our humour and have a good laugh with our special people.
My dear friend Angela and I have a quirky tradition when one of us is down or processing something that feels challenging. Without very many words, we text each other emojis and GIFs – the more outrageous the better. Anyone looking in would seriously question our good sense, but that matters very little. What does matter is the roars of laughter that cause streams of tears from our comical exchanges. Humour lightens the mood and sharing a good laugh with a good friend is a sure way to remember who you are at your core.
Of course, sharing a laugh in person is even better. And thankfully I have weird friends like me who love a good laugh as much as I do!
In all seriousness though, I think a lot of us take too many things to heart in a serious way (myself included). There is a time and place for being serious, for being sad, for being angry, for being scared and for moving through grief. Those are all real human experiences and emotions that need to be felt in order to move through.
Sometimes we need a little reminder that we can use humour to find our light amidst the dark.
A little humour goes a long way.
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