No. It wasn’t that anyone said directly to me that I couldn’t say anything.
It was a small inner voice…deep inside of my mind…that niggling little voice that said “No…you can’t say anything…what would they think if you said that?” That’s right…
I was afraid to express my opinion because I was afraid of what they would think of me.
The problem with that is that I valued their opinion of me more than I valued saying what I thought. How hurtful to me was that? If you have ever been in that situation…you know what I mean…
Is There Ever a Time to Keep Quiet?
Yes. I believe there is. That time to keep quiet is evident when we know that we have a choice to stay silent…when it is in the best interest of the other person to not say anything.
When my children were small and were making mistakes, I often kept quiet, if they were mistakes that weren’t harmful to their physical or emotional selves. If it was appropriate for me to let them experience natural consequences, I let it happen.
However, if you are in a situation where you aren’t keeping quiet for the good of the person involved (never tell your mate that they look fat in an outfit, by the way…then, it is good form to keep quiet…or maybe say that the clothes don’t suit them).
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill
If you are not saying anything because of fear…that is a different story all together, isn’t it?
Then, you are moving away from something…you aren’t moving toward an ending that you want…you are trying to get away from a negative…and that is governed by a deeper fear…such as “I’m not good enough to say anything”…
Speaking Up Because You Feel Like You Matter Enough
You matter. Your opinion matters. Do you have memories of being ridiculed as a child for speaking up? I finally realized that that was what was underneath that fear of speaking up in that group.
If you have a time like that…when you felt shamed by peers or teachers or parents for having had the courage to speak your mind…even if you were not right…it was your opinion…and you are entitled to it.
Remember that time…and go back to it…and let those emotions go…because if there were people there who did that…who ridiculed and jeered…they were wrong…opinions need respect…and we can all agree to disagree…can’t we?
And when you have let those emotions go…you can imagine a time when you have an opinion…and you can express it…with words that matter…with kind words that respect other people’s opinions too…because often it’s in how we say it, too…not just what we say…
We are all important and what we think is important. Measure your words and feel like you can say what you need to say…be respectful in your tone…and it’s not about whether they agree with you or not…speaking up is your right…
“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner
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