Do you ever find it hard to say what you really think? It’s not always easy. And it’s definitely tiring.
We worry about offending others.
We think we’re taking up too much space.
We apologise before we even start. How many of us have started a sentence with “Sorry, can I just ask something?”
There are lots of reasons we do this. In her book, Untamed, Glennon Doyle explains that at the age of 10, we learn how to be good girls and good boys. She explains “ten is when children begin to hide who they are in order to become what the world expects them to be.”
Sometimes we don’t like to interrupt people, but at the same time we know if we don’t we won’t get a word in. If we’ve been told we should be “seen and not heard” at some point in our history, then we understandably feel nervous about sticking our head above the parapet. Sometimes we stay quiet because it’s draining to keep reminding people why they’re making us feel small. It’s enraging and it’s stifling. As Doyle says “maybe we are all fire trapped in skin, trying to look cool”.
Being heard isn’t about creating a “new you”, it’s about remembering who you are. It’s about coming home to the idea that you matter and you belong.
So if our tendency to stay quiet is embedded from a rule book we didn’t write, what do we do?
Here’s what might help:
This week, maybe set the intention to Choose to Challenge. Sometimes we put others needs so far ahead of our own, we forget we have any needs at all. So maybe start with challenging where you are. Ask yourself the question “What is the truest, most beautiful story about my life I want to imagine, and live?” If you’re where you want to be in all areas of your life, that’s amazing. If not, think about your values and whether the life you’re living is aligned with where you want to be. Think about when – and why – you stop yourself from speaking your truth. Who are you trying to please and how can your needs and values matter too?
When people are disrespectful, rise up and call it out; when you’re talked over or interrupted it’s ok to let people know when they’ve shut the conversation down. You can pick your moment or just dive right in; you have that right to be heard and be here. This article highlights that you might make mistakes along the way, but persist and persevere, even when things are difficult. And as Doyle says in her TED talk, when it feels scary and messy and oily being human, just show up anyway and do the next right thing.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021