I received a letter from a PhD student out of the University of Houston who asked me the following question:
Could you please point to good literature about authentic speech? I have heard you speak about its importance. But I am not really sure how to achieve that, how to tell when I am being authentic. This issue has puzzled me a lot for the last 5 years, but I still do not have a clearer understanding of it. What can you recommend?
With regards to telling if you are speaking authentically: Listen to yourself talk, as if a stranger was talking. Try not to identify too much with what you are saying. Then, observe. See if what you are saying makes you feel stronger, physically, or weaker. If it makes you feel weaker, stop saying it. Try to reformulate your speech until you can feel the ground under your feet solidifying. Then practice only saying things that make you strong.
Stop trying to use your speech to get what you want. You don’t necessarily know what you want. Instead, try to articulate what you believe to be true as carefully as possible. Then, accept the outcome. Assume that your truth, as lived and spoken, will produce the best possible outcome. It’s an act of faith.