7 Things to Remember When You Are Scared to Speak Up

If you have something meaningful to say, but you’re scared to speak up, remember…

1.Silence can be self-abuse.  You have to admit, to a certain extent, you have spent too much of your life trying to silence yourself.  Trying to become quieter.  Smaller.  Less sensitive.  Less needy.  Less YOU.  Because you didn’t want to be too much for people.  You wanted to make a good impression with them.  You wanted to fit in.  You wanted everyone to like you.  So for much of your life, you’ve sacrificed a part of yourself, your need to be heard for the sake of not stepping on anyone’s toes.  And for much of your life, you have abused yourself with your own silence.  But you are tired of living this way, right?  When you give yourself permission to openly communicate what matters to you, peace will develop within you despite the possible rejection or disapproval you may face.  Putting a voice to your heart and soul helps you to let go and grow.
2.Most social conflicts between good people start with bad communication, or no communication.  Too often we try to read each other’s minds to no avail, and then we sit back and wonder why we are all on different pages.  Take this to heart.  The single greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable.  Speak clearly and honestly, and then listen sincerely.  And keep in mind that when you hear only what you want to hear, you are not really listening.  Listen to what you don’t want to hear too.  That’s how we grow stronger, together.
3.Honest communication can disarm people’s difficult tendencies.  We all have difficult people in our lives, but not all of them are difficult on purpose.  Sometimes people who care about you, people who have decent intentions, are incredibly hard to deal with simply because they are struggling with their own issues.  Such people need your support, but you must also be honest with them.  Not confronting someone’s difficult behavior can become the principal reason for being sucked into their drama.  Challenging their behavior upfront, on the other hand, will sometimes get them to realise the negative impact of their actions.  For instance, you might say, “I’ve noticed you seem angry.  Is something upsetting you?” or “Your attitude is upsetting me right now.  Is this what you want?”  Direct statements like these can be disarming if someone is subconsciously stuck in a rut, and these statements can also open doors of opportunity for you to help them if they’re genuinely facing a serious problem.  And even if they deny their behavior, at least you’ve made them aware that their attitude has become a known issue to someone else.
4.The only way to find support is to admit how you feel in the first place.  For example, sometimes we feel as though the world is crashing down around us, as if the pain we are experiencing is unique only to us in the moment.  This, of course, is far from the truth.  We are all in this together.  The very demons that torment each of us, torment all of us.  It is our challenges and troubles that connect us at the deepest level.  Once we fully embrace this, our relationships become a place where we can look each other in the eye and say, “I’m lost and struggling at the moment,” and we can look back at each other and say, “Me too,” …and that’s ok.  Because not being “ok” all the time, not having it all figured out, is perfectly ok.
5.The right words can be incredibly healing.  When you grow older and you look back on your life, you will inevitably forget a lot of the stuff that seemed so important when you were young.  You probably won’t remember what your secondary school Mock GCSE exam results were .  You will lookup your old classmates online and wonder why you ever had a crush on that guy/girl.  And you will have the toughest time remembering why you let certain people from your past get the best of you.  But you will never forget the people who were genuinely kind to you, those who helped when you were hurt, and who loved you even when you felt unlovable.  Be that person to others when you can.  Your voice can heal.  Sometimes you will say something really small and simple, but it will fit right into an empty space in someone’s heart.
6.Not feeling ready to speak up could be a sign that you actually are ready.  The more you live and learn, the more seasoned (now I am thinking about food) and educated you become, the more you will come to realise just how little you actually know in the grand scheme of things.  Every human being deals with this phenomenon to a certain extent.  Research suggests that the so-called “impostor syndrome” that takes place when we suddenly don’t feel “good enough” or “ready yet” gets more intense as we grow wiser.  Also, the more experienced or knowledgeable we become, the more likely we are to compare ourselves to, or even rub shoulders with, ever more interesting, talented and wise people, leaving us feeling even more inadequate by comparison.  So, in a backwards way, if you are concerned that you don’t measure up, that you are not ready yet; it could very well be a sign that you actually do measure up just fine, and that now is the time to speak up.
7.Your voice can bring people together.  We ALL want validation, love, happiness, fulfillment, financial stability, and hopes for a better future.  The unique ways we pursue these “wants” is where things branch off, but the fundamentals are the same.  So whenever possible, find the courage to use your voice to help those around you see the world through commonalities of the human heart and soul, remind them that we’re all in this together.  This is how humanity as a whole gradually evolves and grows stronger.  The language of the heart and soul, of togetherness is mankind’s common language.  When we change the way we communicate with each other, we change society for the better.

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