Over the years I have learned (still learning) that there's a subtle dance between not speaking up and speaking up. For years I spoke up loudly and with strong emotions - often leaving others stunned and disheartened. I would take on their emotions and judgments as my own and then add a side order of shame on the backend. Then, next time, I wouldn’t speak up and be upset about keeping quiet. This would build up until I was furious again and then I would express myself angry and loud. Not fun for me or for others who were in relationship with me.
Communication and speaking up became powerful when I allowed myself to be guided by my core needs; my commitment to authenticity, courage, transparency, consideration and kindness. When these values informed my expression, I began to notice that I could say what I needed to say in partnership with others.
Truth is, I care how my communication leaves people. If I’m true to my core needs then speaking to people’s upset lives within this commitment. I default to thinking that if my communication left someone disempowered or upset that they didn’t understand what I was trying to say. I always flash back to my favorite quote as a 12 year old… “You say you understand what you think I said, what you don’t understand is what you heard is not what I meant.” So what’s not present? Clarity! So I slow down and speak in a way that others can hear my intention.
And yes, there are times when people will still be upset and or disagree with me – and that’s ok because I know what my intention is and understand that not everyone will be able to hear it.
So with that said, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote by Audre Lorde,
Here’s to Speaking Up!