"Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love."
The first agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz
Recently I have been hearing and reading a lot about people "Speaking their Truth" and how that is supposed to somehow justify hate speech, judgement and blame, without any accountability for what is being said or the manner in which it is being said. This trend is so widely accepted that politicians, journalists, radio and T.V. presenters, etc., whom you would hope would use a fact based foundation, are perpetuating this issue.
One of the issues here is the definition of "my Truth." Think about it this way, that facts are known quantities that are generally accepted as proven and observable.
For example if it is a sunny day because the sun is shining it's unlikely to be disputed as a fact or a Truth. However individual truths in many cases are not observable and not facts. In fact they are subjective perceptions, opinions, thoughts and feelings.
The irony is that sometimes the "truth" being spouted is so far removed from reality that it is hard to relate to what is being said. The real danger, in my opinion and experience is when someone is speaking "their truth" as if it is 'the' Truth.
Going back to the sunny day example, if we agree it is sunny that does not mean that we agree that it is hot and sunny. So if I were to say it's hot and you were to say, actually it's cold, who's truth would be correct? (both of us? neither of us?). And if I decide that it is indeed hot (not, I am the one who is feeling hot) then I may turn on the air conditioning or take some other measure. As you can see, something that is true for me is based on a limited perspective and isn't a universal Truth. So although this is a superficial example, on a daily basis there are personal perspectives being spoken as truths that are toxic and the basis for conflicts.
For this reason I like Don Miguel's explanation of the first agreement that invites us to speak with integrity. And moreover, to take responsibility for our language in "the direction of Truth and Love." This implies that you are not already speaking the Truth but rather moving toward the proximity of the Truth.
So coming back to my example of a sunny day; If I say "I'm feeling hot" and you say "I'm feeling cold", we are both speaking our truth without inflicting any perceptions onto anyone else. We are also taking the responsibility that it's how we are feeling rather than how things are.
This last point is important because it is a source of Empowerment. So if you're having an argument with someone, rather than saying "you hurt me by what you said" if you say "I feel hurt by what you said.", your feelings are something you can actually influence and take control of, instead of trying to control what someone else may be saying to you.
This change in attitude and language can have a profound effect on oneself, because your Truth isn't so important about what you are telling other people but about what you are aware of for yourself. What you are perceiving, thinking and feeling. Then questions like "why am I sharing my truth?" and "is it useful or helpful to share this?" become quite poignant.
There is also another important question, what if there are no Truths only perspectives?