E058 - Where Are You Speaking From?

authenticity boundaries communication healthy boundaries Nov 16, 2023

Hello there,

We speak all day, with family members or co-workers or friends or even the Internet.

But we don't often ask ourselves, "Where am I speaking from?" We just kind of let the words come out and see what happens.

Perhaps we breathe a little bit or compose ourselves before, but for the most part we shoot from the hip and just let the words tumble out. And we don't ask ourselves, "Where am I coming from?"

Watch the video or continue reading below to learn why this is important.


We could be coming from a really warm and open place inside ourselves. But we could also be coming from a really defensive place, or we could be coming from a place that's very into pleasing and appearing to be just perfect or okay, or trying to make other people feel better.

Or we could be the absolute opposite. We could be very walled off and cold or aloof or withdrawn or otherwise unavailable.

These are all places inside us from which we communicate.

And the curious thing about this is that most of us have default patterns of communication that are isolated to certain people or family members. We have a set of ways in which we communicate with certain people.

For example, we may switch on a certain way of communicating with someone in authority; and if we're talking to younger people, we probably talk a different kind of way. And if we talk to animals, something just switches on and suddenly we're talking like a goofy baby person.

And that's beautiful, but are we making a conscious choice about where we are coming from when we speak? Is it where you want to come from when you’re speaking, say, to a family member? (And that’s probably how you always speak to them and where you often speak from.)

So is that the best place to communicate from? Is that where you want to communicate from—is it how you want to show up in the world and what you want to express to that person?

This is important, because we've actually got choices.

And instead of writing default scripts inside, where we habitually show up around people in certain ways that don't always serve us, we have a choice to shift to a more grounded way of communicating, of expressing from within ourselves, from parts of us that are more compassionate, more mindful, more authentic and real, more boundaried, and more connected.

We've got choices.

And when we use those choices, we can create connection when we're speaking, we can create trust. We can create mutually agreeable outcomes where everyone wins.

This can deeply affect our personal lives, helping our relationships go smoother, warmer and more authentically. And in our work lives, we can create great opportunities by being someone that people trust and love and feel safe with, and feel like they want to work with and do business with.

So how do we put this into action? How do we explore this and use it to communicate better and come from somewhere a little bit more wholesome, integrated, grounded, heart-centered, and so on?

The first thing is to notice where we're coming from in the moment. Often we're really up in our heads, so one of the first things we can do is shift where we're communicating from by dropping down into the heart, into a more heart-centered kind of expression.

Another aspect is to feel our body in the moment. Express from a grounded and settled body, instead of being in your head, with all the words just rattling out. Instead, slow it down, get low-slung and grounded. When we're speaking from a settled body, we often slow down and are more accurate with what we're saying, and we know how we're feeling in the moment and can express ourselves authentically.

And generally when we're in our bodies and feeling settled, other people's nervous systems will read that settledness and groundedness, and people will feel safe around us.

Another curious thing about "where am I expressing from" is the physical space between people during a conversation. Does it feel like there’s a wall between you, and how much space is there between you?

Become conscious of whether it feels like you’re speaking from behind a wall. A  sense of trying to get quite far away from the other person, and almost unconsciously letting them know you’re doing that. A sense of being walled off. That's not ideal, because we want to be connected.

But we can also be over the boundary and kind of in other people's business and be too much. So people who are sometimes told they’re too much will be a little bit over the boundary and may need to pull back and get settled in their bodies, with an appropriate amount of distance, so that they are communicating from within themselves—but not so far within themselves that they’re calling out from very, very far away, all withdrawn!

So find an appropriate sense of distance that includes an appropriate boundary. In other words, feel separate but connected, and no one is walled off—and you're not no-boundaries, feel free to walk all over me.

We are a little bit of a combo of these things, or the perfect balance of them to be connected. We’re totally connected, we’re boundaried… not too far away, not too far forward. We’re just in balance.

It's very subtle, but try exploring it. Try moving your physical distance when talking to someone and see what happens. If you get up a little close, it'll probably feel a bit creepy and weird and like you're invading someone's space. And if you're far away, you might feel really safe, but also really distant.

So explore that distance.

We also all wear masks. We learn to hide our feelings as children, for example, and we learn that no one wants to see a sad face or whatever else may be deemed unwelcome. And so we learn to put a mask in front of our faces.

On the one hand, it's kind of necessary as a human being, because we can't just let it all hang out all the time. But on the other hand, we can become too masked, and we can adopt a kind of zero-affect face, which means no emotion, or very little, gets shown. It's all about control, I am fine—but it's inauthentic.

So we can all explore, Am I being authentic? Do I let people see how I feel? Because one of the ways we learn to trust each other is by being able to see—Oh, there's the human being, I can trust them, they seem safe, they seem real.

When we've got what could be called a wall of nice, it's very difficult to actually meet and feel and see a human being and trust them. So explore dropping the mask and letting people see you. And if you normally feel too vulnerable and too open, give yourself permission to wear a mask that you can choose to drop when you feel safe.

When we explore and play with "Where am I coming from?" in our communication with others, we want to bring five critical components into play. Maybe focus on one or two over the short term, but develop them as skills over time.

The first is to get out of the racing head. This means that when other people are speaking, we're not thinking what to say next, we're not processing mentally what they're saying. We just empty out and be present and listen. And when we're speaking, we don't need a narrator on top of it all telling us what to say next or criticizing us. Become deeply present and mindful and let the words just come out.

Secondly, heart-centeredness—such a radically under-rated and extremely important and beautiful component to bring into everything—a warm, heart-centered approach.

Thirdly, being connected to our guts in the moment, in other words, to our feelings, to our emotions, to our boundaries, to our intuition, our embodied intuition. And that's knowing in the moment how we feel, as opposed to disconnecting from it.

The fourth component is to be connected to our bodies, so to be feeling our bodies as we speak. It's one of the best ways to bring safety into our body, to bring regulation. I'm here, and I feel okay.

Whether you're talking to a thousand people live or you're talking to people on the Internet, the body is one of the keys to a sense of safety, regulation, presence, and being able to trust that the words will tumble out, and they'll tumble out just fine—even though you don’t know where the words will come from.

The fifth component is a sense of boundary between me and you, so we have a sense of separation from everybody and a sense of connection at the same time. This is a little bit of a paradox and a balance for us to find.

It’s a sense that other people's energies, vibes, intensity, needs—all of that stuff is on the other side of the fence, that's theirs. And I've got a boundary, so I'm in me, and everyone else is out there. At the same time, we have a real deep sense of total interconnection.

Those are the five components we want to bring into play to alter where we are speaking from.

I'd love to hear from you. Please drop me a line to let me know  where you speak from—where do you speak from that you don't like so much? And where do you speak beautifully, and how do you do it?

I wish you all the joy playing with these tools, and let me know where you end up speaking from!