Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Truth

In Christian marriage ceremonies, the congregation is always asked to consider that ‘if anyone knows any just cause or impediment why these two persons should not lawfully be joined together in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.’  If we unpick this, it’s essentially a call for expressing any ill and resetting to truth before we get in too deep, before we cement things in a way that we can’t ever return from.  We get this option to choose truth or keep schtum in our lives on a daily, even moment by moment basis too.  We’re constantly being presented with new opportunities to speak up or out when things aren’t true.  But do we take them?

When was the last time I remained silent, wedding myself forever to a lie? Perhaps at work when I let something go by so as not to seem a know-all and risk becoming unpopular? Out with friends who want to drink (more) alcohol when I don’t? With family over simple choices about what I want to eat that night or do this weekend? About my friend’s disastrous new purchase or worse still, new partner?  Or when witnessing verbal aggression towards a supermarket till operator?

Why this matters is because each time I don’t speak what is truth for me, it has an effect on my body.  And that’s important to me because my body is my one and only vehicle, with me everywhere, taking me anywhere and supporting me in everything.  In the words of modern philosopher, Serge Benhayon, ‘Our mouth can say things, our mind can think things – but our body is living all of it’.¹

It takes enormous amounts of energy to withhold something not said, not expressed. So is it possible that when we don’t express truthfully, we are essentially creating our own source of energy depletion and adding to our exhaustion levels? What if we could see the weight of that burden on our bodies. All those moments where we haven’t spoken the truth in our lives we carry inside us. I imagine we might be shocked by our levels of ‘non-truth’ obesity!

And then there’s the wider impact – that because I don’t speak out about something that’s not true, it allows others not to, thereby perpetuating a lived lie – a family, group, institutional, national or international collusion –  until before we know it, the lie, the angle is commonly accepted as our ‘normal’, as our operating truth.

Take the completely deceitful concept of airbrushing photos so that we never see the true reality in the picture but an entirely manipulated version.  Or the illogical sanction of the design and manufacture of cars that enable us to drive on our roads at speeds way beyond the national speed limit. Or that just because there’s now a coffee shop on almost every corner of every high street, it doesn’t mean that coffee is good for you.  It just means it’s fashionable, it’s a cash cow and it’s being leveraged for all its worth – at your expense. Fact.

So which areas of life are we living where we haven’t spoken out but instead withheld our feelings, our absolute knowing, our truth? Because once we’ve withheld a first time, it becomes disproportionately harder to break the veil of the lie the longer we continue to live it.  Such that we find ourselves in ‘arrangements’ with people.  From friends, partners and colleagues to organisations, governments and nations.

The last time I can remember a true UK public outcry – for which read ‘strong opinion’ – was over the decision to go to war with Iraq. But coming from a foundation based on years of collective apathy, this was treated by those in power as mere toddlers in a tantrum.  And then we wonder why we have a world in which 1 in 5 children in UK care homes end up in some sort of crime; where obesity levels have soared since portion sizes ballooned and sugar became ubiquitous; where Greece can wriggle its way out of defaulting on its debt repayments yet again whilst bringing further levels of desperation to its citizens from the reality of increased austerity.  Why aren’t we saying it as it is?

speaking the truth

I know when I don’t speak out and choose instead to withhold the truth, I feel lesser in that moment of choice.  It’s a feeling of letting myself down, of not being true to myself – and there’s a part of me that contracts, recoils and feels awkward in that collusion; that I’m not being totally honest with myself and therefore I’m offering another person or group a lesser form of me, not the me of conviction, of courage, of confidence or certainty that I know I am.

But why is it that we don’t we speak out? So that we’ll be accepted and liked? So people won’t be affronted or knocked out of their stupor? Or because it’s too difficult, too complicated and we don’t feel comfortable, ready or good enough? Or we are not confident that anyone will listen? The list would appear to be comfortably long but that doesn’t make it OK.  It’s just a long list of excuses. For if we all sat back and did nothing, what would happen? Where would we be?  Extremes of rich and poor across the world? Illness and disease at epidemic proportions because of the way we’re living our lives? In global financial crisis?  Terrorism and hatred stemming from a lack of understanding and different values? Or tribal wars across the globe perhaps?

I rest my case.


¹  Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations (1st edition, UniMed Publishing 2011) p 411


  • Laura Hoy

    I love this article Cathy, you can really see how we’ve ended up living in the world as it is today, how these ‘little’ ‘unsaid’ ‘things’ build to disastrous consequences.
    Perhaps that sentence in a marriage ceremony should actually just be ‘Speak now….’ and be a moment for a discussion, not for everyone to politely not make awkward noises for a few seconds…

    • Perhaps we could extend that “speak now” moment to lots of occasions where contracts are entered into. I wonder how that would change the way we operate in business?

  • Angela Perin

    What an absolutely superb article Cathy (!) which really calls us all to account and to a level of responsibility that is currently not the norm in our society. It is our individual responsibility in every moment to speak truth, understanding that ‘not speaking up’ can be just as harmful as promoting or encouraging ill-truth… When we assume this as our collective responsibility as a community, we have the foundation for returning to truth in brotherhood and true harmony.

    • Yes….in our society we have to be experts at reading between the lines and have become quite adept at learning what a message is behind the words we use. Wouldn’t it be simpler to be truthful at the outset?

  • Rachel Murtagh

    Cathy, you really show through your article how the world had ended up in the mess it has. Staying silent, whilst being the easy option doesn’t in truth offer anyone anything, not even an easy life, for as you have shown our bodies get affected by not speaking our truth and the world sinks deeper into the mire into which we all have to trudge.

    • Isn’t it interesting how our bodies react to all of our actions/inactions which in turn affects our communities and society as a whole. Everything is more connected than we like to believe.

  • Cathy has really shown how everything we do really has an impact. That her words are resonating with you hopefully gives readers the courage to speak their truth when they need it. Thank you Rachel, Angela and Laura for your insightful, supportive comments.

  • Jenny Ellis

    Cathy this piece of writing is superb and a breath of fresh air… talk about say it like it is, and call every last one of us to account on a global level and at the same time very personal basis. You make it clear how we make a difference in the world, one way or the other… there is no neutral ground, however innocent we’d like to believe our ‘by standing’ is, we are each contributing to the ‘lies’ we hate so much by not speaking up. This level of responsibility for what’s happening in the world around us is not easily accepted… but you have clearly outlines what’s needed for true change to occur. We are so quick to complain about the way things are… but to take this level of responsibility is what’s needed. Thank you!

    • With people like you who accept responsibility it will make it easier for others to do the right thing too! Thanks Jenny.

  • Helen Elliott

    Awesome article Cathy which exposes how we are all complicit in not speaking out in a myriad of situations on a daily basis. The impact that this has on humanity whether it be by allowing others to continue in their apathy, feeling that their voice won’t make a difference or to carry on suffering because of the collective reluctance to speak up is huge. We all need to wake up to our responsibility for the current mess we are in collectively but also in our bodies because of the damage caused by holding back our truthful expression.

    • As well as telling the truth, we all have to open to hearing it as well. We can fear being told what we don’t like as well and shut it down. It’s probably another area we all need to work on?

  • Suzanne Anderssen

    For me, the biggest problem with not speaking up is that “… it allows others not to, thereby perpetuating a lived lie – until before we know it, the lie, the angle is commonly accepted as our ‘normal’…” We have a society where majority rules and most people have pretty much given up, thinking their small voice won’t or couldn’t possibly make a difference. But actually this is not true. All it takes is one person opening up, having the courage, understanding and awareness that the moment truth is spoken, it is like wildfire, it just catches on. One person speaking truth turns into a group speaking truth, then a party, then a region, then a state, then a nation. Who are we not to speak the truth? Superb article Cathy Hackett, thank you for being one of the ‘ones’.

    • I think you’re right Suzanne, that people think their voice won’t count…when it does. Let’s acknowledge how difficult it is speaking out, and be ready to chime in and support someone when they do tell the truth and watch the truth wildfire catch on.

  • rosanna bianchini

    Case most definitely put to rest Cathy. The more i learn about the many ways we can express truth, the more I see how it plays out in the world when we don’t. I know the feeling you describe and I find that it doesn’t need to be just the spoken word that I hold back to feel that way. It in fact also happens if I behave in a way that I know is not true for me, or even allow thoughts that are not loving or true… “I know when I don’t speak out and choose instead to withhold the truth, I feel lesser in that moment of choice. It’s a feeling of letting myself down, of not being true to myself – and there’s a part of me that contracts, recoils and feels awkward in that collusion; that I’m not being totally honest with myself and therefore I’m offering another person or group a lesser form of me”

  • Anne Malatt

    I love what you have landed here, Cathy. Little white lies suddenly don’t look so small! And the truth of what you have delivered resonates in our bodies: “It takes enormous amounts of energy to withhold something not said, not expressed. ” and “All those moments where we haven’t spoken the truth in our lives we carry inside us. ” really made me stop!
    If we truly stopped to feel what our lack of action, our unwillingness to speak the truth, had created in our world, we may just start speaking up again! And if everyone spoke up and stood for the truth, how different would our world be…
    Thank you for the enormous inspiration.

    • Thanks Anne. By standing up for the truth, you will likewise inspire others and change our world!

  • mariette reineke

    What a great article. For most of my life, being liked was more important than speaking truth. I have been breaking this pattern over the last few years and still do, every day. What I notice is, that when I don’t speak truth and hold back, I get anxious and my whole body goes into a tension. But also, when I do speak truth, for all to see, hear or read, afterward I can go snacking and eat something that does not sit well with my body, just to dull myself and make myself small again. There are many habbits and patterns we create just to avoid expressing truth.

    • I’m so glad you wrote about your experiences, because I know that I personally have experienced them too. It’s validating to hear it expressed from someone else. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sandra Williamson

    I wonder if the perpetuated lies where counted up in a single day – would we feel like we had made the most of ourselves and humanity with our contribution. Or is it possible we might take a moment to pause and ponder and consider choosing a little differently the next day. Step by step we can choose to start speaking truth. Our bodies and everybody’s will appreciate the difference.

    • I wonder if we can make a tool or counter for people to download and use so we can assess what our lies amount to each day. Awareness is a good place to start if we want to change our behaviours. Will keep you posted. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Victoria Picone

    This is a refreshingly honest read, thank you Cathy. I am with you, when we hold back on speaking the truth we not only harm ourselves but everyone is affected. This is a responsibility we all share.

  • Speaking up is good up to a point. I am the poster child for speaking up too often and too assertively and getting blocked for challenging clearly magical thinking and asking for evidence to back up claims that don’t seem to mesh with reality. My challenge is to remain moderate even when being abused by the other party with all the usual logical fallacies. I always try to remember that ‘My truth’ could be completely wrong and I must remain open to further evidence at all times.

  • Julie Snelgrove

    I love how this article develops taking us from the one small thing we may decide to not express to the the bigger picture and the impact this has had globally on everyone. It shows the level of responsibility we need to be living in regards to speaking up, not just for the sake of our own health and body but to enable changes happen with in the world.

  • Judith

    I can so relate to what you are writing here Cathy. After years of holding back, being nice and not wanting to rock anyones boat, I am now practicing to speak up. I have attended a few Expression & Presentation workshops with Serge Benhayon and since then feel very encouraged to contribute to any subject at hand by simply sharing what I know and feel about it.
    It is exactly as you say, I felt a bit rusty to start with, but the more I talk or write the easier the words flow.