This month we chose Fearne Cotton’s Speak Your Truth as our book of the month. Speak Your Truth was only released a few weeks ago and was written during the first lockdown, making a lot of the content relevant to us while we’re at home for the third lockdown since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Many of you will have heard of Fearne Cotton through her radio and television presenting, and from her wellbeing brand Happy Place. After suffering from a cyst at the back of her throat leaving her without a voice for a number of weeks, she began to think about how ‘excessive stress, namely fear of speaking out’ could have contributed to her ailment. Her thoughts resulted in a this book.
Unlike a lot of the self-help or motivational books out there, Fearne steers clear from using an overstated or sensationalist tone and instead opts for one of honesty and vulnerability. She doesn’t present herself as having all the answers or as being a perfect role-model, but shares with us her journey to finding her truth and becoming able to express it. I found this a refreshing contrast to the how to change your life overnight books that fill our shelves but have had very little lasting impact on us. We live in such a fast-paced world which Fearne highlights several times in her book, and reminds us that in spite of this most good things or achievements actually don’t occur overnight, and slowing down and taking the time to work on something is far more realistic, satisfying and sustainable in the long-run.
Often finding our truth means unpicking or unlearning what we’ve previously accepted as normal. On a personal level Fearne provides examples of relationships she’s been in or jobs she’s had where she feels she’d been walked over for no other reason than not feeling able to speak up / bring her own ideas to the table. In finding her truth as well as the confidence to convey it she now feels she is able to prevent herself from committing to what she doesn’t believe in out of fear of saying no, and gracefully stand up for herself instead. On a more global level she describes the courage that those such as Martin Luther King had. He fearlessly spoke his truth and as a result challenged how people have previously perceived different races and changed the face of racism forever. It it those who have bravely spoken up who have been able to create groundbreaking change.
Learning to speak your truth will mean learning not to please everyone, which is perhaps the hardest part and what stops so many of us from living authentically. Fearne explains that bottling up our feelings, especially the negative ones, will only lead to a build up of more resentment that tends to explode later on, even if that means taking it out on someone else and over a completely irrelevant matter.
While it is is most instances easier to reflect on our problems and think of the people who may have caused or contributed to them, or to think of the people who have had it easier than us and cast judgement, Fearne reminds us that to it is up to us to deal with whatever is on our minds and that only we have the power to align the course of our lives with what makes us happy. “As soon as I start pointing fingers, I know I have lost the way.” She also prompts us to apologise and forgive when holding a grudge is more of a burden to us than learning to live harmoniously with that person.
Fearne ends her book with a personal list of ten inspiring truth tellers.
Who are your truth tellers, and what can you learn from them?