Here's to speaking up

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,