“Ease is the sign that it’s the right path.”
“I just need to speak my truth.”
“It must be meant to be.”

We hear these things often when we start to do personal work, and for some, it brings up skepticism of self-help.The examples of people who mis-use such concepts are rampant enough that the self-help mantra of the day can start to seem like it’s used to justify whatever position someone is in.

For instance, I’ve heard of or experienced someone saying, “Well, ease is the sign that it’s the right path for me.”

Yes, ease is one of the signs that something is in alignment with your life. And of course, I don’t believe that everything worth doing is always hard.

But boilerplate, “Ease is how I know this is right?” That attitude can really rob someone of an incredible learning experience.

I spent years of my own life resisting going into the hard stuff, always choosing whatever was easy. Finally, when I surrendered to dealing with the hard stuff, on the other side of incredible and deep discomfort is where I’ve found my greatest joy.

Or how about, “I just need to speak my truth?”

For years, I used and abused that one. Having come from a place where I was afraid to speak my truth, it felt heady and liberating for the self-help world to (seemingly) be encouraging me to start speaking my truth.

Speak my truth? Why, it was just what I’d been waiting for!

If someone didn’t like it, they must be someone who was encouraging me not to speak my truth. Bad friend!

But you see where I’m going with this. Using “I need to speak my truth” to complain, put someone down, offer unsolicited advice, vent my own angry judgments, or tear into someone’s character is a manipulation of the work.

The ethos of “speak your truth” is intended to bring greater connection–not give me or you or anyone else cart blanche to spout off opinions or advice (especially those that are unsolicited).

“Speak your truth” is intended to help people to come out of hiding, to have the courage to bring to everyone’s awareness even those things that might be difficult.

It’s not a permission slip to complain. It’s a permission slip to voice something in service to greater connection–either greater connection to who you are, or greater connection to another.

And–“It was just meant to be”?

Absolutely, sometimes. But just notice if you’re using this as a curative to avoid feelings of deep disappointment, especially when something you’ve been working towards hasn’t worked out.

This is why this is so tricky–because the world is full of dichotomous relationships, places where two different categories, both seeming opposites, can both be true.

Ease can be a sign of the right path–and it can be a cop-out to avoid challenging yourself. Speaking your truth can be liberation–and it can be an illusory cage, in which all that talking doesn’t really get you where you actually hope to go. What’s “meant to be” can be acceptance–or it can be avoidance.

Check your integrity on this one. Deep down, you always know the difference between the truth and a lie. It’s impossible to offer a set of guidelines for knowing when you’re doing the work and when you’re manipulating the work, other than this one: deep within, the truth of you knows. Check in.