Creating the Space to Speak your Truth
I’m in the middle of a massive research project at the moment. I stopped doing research a couple of years ago, but this one is completely different. I’m talking to people within an organisation about the topics of diversity, inclusivity and what it really means to belong.
I get to sit down with strangers and talk to them about their experiences, their emotions, and their truths. I get to ask them questions to help them explore their thoughts even further. And I get to hear what’s really on their hearts and minds.
What’s stood out for me is just how willing people are to speak about topics that matter to them. How hungry they are to be heard.
As humans, we crave the space to share how we really feel, without judgment. We want to be heard. We want to know we have a voice. That our opinion matters. That our point of view is respected, regardless of how similar or different it is to the people around us.
And when we create the space for people in this way, a powerful unfolding occurs.
There have been moments of quiet contemplation and introspection. There have been times of righteous anger. And there have been many a tear shed. Not in sorrow or despair, but from the immense relief of feeling heard. From finally being able to acknowledge to ourselves how we truly feel. And even though we’re strong, we too matter, and someone is allowing us to remember that.
We all have a deep desire for this.
We all need a space where we can be gently prodded open to the truths that are often carefully buried beneath a façade of busyness and of coping. We all need an environment where we can feel safe enough to share the tough realisations that have come up for us. Where we can speak that truth without fear of being judged or shamed or dismissed.
Earlier this month I shared the Enneagram with a small, intimate group of women. We were all strangers when we walked into the room that hot Thursday morning. And I could feel everyone’s slight apprehension at what the day would involve.
Yet what I witnessed there spoke to this same, instinctual need. Yes, we explored and dived into the learning. And as is always the case with this form of self-development work, we uncovered new insights about ourselves that helped us view our lives, our relationships and our work in new and helpful ways.
But what stood out for me again was the deep need we all have for connection, for sharing and for belonging.
To know that we are amidst caring, empathetic people who have our best interests at heart, who are listening attentively to our stories, who are curious about our lives and who, even as strangers, are rooting for our greatest success.
Don’t be fooled. This isn’t group therapy.
But it is about getting honest.
It’s about feeling seen and knowing your voice matters.
It’s about feeling what it’s like to open yourself up to trust.
It’s about finally admitting your truth, and the relief that comes from expressing it.
It’s about listening to other people’s stories and realising you’re not alone.
It’s about offering your own version of hope and truth and encouragement to another.
And it’s about the privilege of holding space for someone else and being of contribution to their journey.
Being available for others in this way has touched me in ways I hadn’t expected. And it’s made me realise how deeply important this is to all of us.
It’s made me think deeply about how willing I am to receive this in my own life. How open I am to this level of connection and support. Of choosing carefully who I share my life with and when I’m sure, allowing myself to step into this sacred space with trust and open-heartedness.
The risks feel high but the reward feels greater.