“Say what you need to say. If your message comes from a place of love, it will land exactly as it should, even if it makes waves.” – Tracy Cherpeski
In all areas of life, we are encouraged to be honest. How honest are you? Be real. If you hold your tongue, stuff-down your feelings or shy-away from speaking because you are worried about a negative consequence, are you really being honest? I am an honest person, but I lived a lie for many years. I lied to myself, the world and my former spouse by not allowing myself to feel, let alone speak about, how unhappy I was. At the time I needed to experience unhappiness in order to grow out of it. Interestingly, during that time I regularly experienced laryngitis every time I had even the mildest cold virus. I had quite literally “lost” my voice. Fortunately, I found it, and that is why I am here today, sharing with you.
We all have our reasons for not speaking our mind on occasion. Sometimes it is simply inappropriate, or we are feeling strong emotions that hinder us from using our most impeccable words should we open our mouths to give voice to our thoughts. Sometimes, however, we fear retribution, that we might look bad, or that speaking up might somehow take-away from another’s experience. Do you ever worry about how your words might fall on someone else’s ears, even if you are respectful and loving in your delivery? I certainly have, and still occasionally do. But, when we take a moment to examine those fears, we will see a lot, and from there, choose to free ourselves by being honest.
I offer a method to help you claim your powerful voice. It is not the only way, yet you will learn something and start thinking about how to grab hold of your power and speak up.
Get your needs met. If you are lacking the courage to use your voice in a powerful, respectful and appropriate manner, then it is highly likely you have some unmet needs. Take a moment to find where you might be missing something. Is it self-care? Time to yourself? Are you hungry or thirsty? Are you worried about money, relationships, family or a health matter? If your basic needs are not met, then it will be challenging for you to feel powerful; wouldn’t you agree?
So, get your needs met. Nourish your body with high quality foods. Stay properly hydrated. Get enough sleep; an average of seven hours per night is considered adequate rest for your body to recover and for your brain to organize all the information it absorbed during waking hours. Exercise regularly; move your body for 10-30 minutes at a time, rigorously enough to get your heart rate elevated and your blood pumping. Carve-out time for yourself every day, even if “just” 10 minutes at the end of the day to unwind and enjoy some quiet time to yourself. Recharge your batteries, so to speak, so you can return to balance; everyone needs to disconnect from electronic devices that stimulate and distract, including televisions and computers. Practice this self-care every day; you will feel stronger and will likely begin to speak your mind without even thinking about it.
Be “brutally” honest. When you find yourself searching for words, take a moment to ask yourself a few questions: Does this person or situation contribute to my overall wellbeing? If not, does it make sense to engage in conversation, or politely excuse yourself? Have you felt unhappy in your job or relationship(s)? If so, you may need to make a few minor adjustments first by ensuring your needs are met, and then by addressing the issues at hand, which we will visit shortly.
When you are honest with yourself and getting your needs met, you will be able to communicate easily, clearly and with authority. My daughter set a shining example of this honesty last weekend when she tested for her high white belt in Tae Kwon Do (she passed – proud mama!) When the Master interviewed her, he asked her if she likes Tae Kwon Do. She answered, “Sort of, sir!” She told me that he smiled at her as if he totally understood. One of the principle articles in Tae Kwon Do is honesty, and the Master appreciated and honored her answer. I love how she spoke her truth without worrying that she might offend or upset him. We could all take a page from her book.
Write a script. Many of us have studied a variety of topics to prepare ourselves for our careers and hobbies. We prepare scripts for interviews, speeches and presentations. Why not do the same in life? When we are prepared with a script, it takes the pressure off, particularly if the topic is emotionally-charged. If you are upset with a friend who did something that you experienced as hurtful, you could start by saying, “I feel disappointed/sad/frustrated,” and then say nothing more. Let your friend ask you questions and engage in the conversation. Use phrases like “I experienced,” or “I felt,” or prepare a whole lead-in to the conversation, such as, “I feel… I don’t want… What do you think?” Now you sit back, take a few breaths and quietly listen.
Body language. Make sure your body reads as loving and open. Leaning-in, arms crossed and resting on the table can read as threatening and aggressive. Sit comfortably in a chair, leaning back, hands resting in your lap, palms up. This is open, inviting, non-threatening body language, and is usually well-received. It sets the tone for an open conversation.
Being courageous takes practice until it feels natural. Be honest with yourself and share your honesty with the world. It is the best gift you can ever give, and it will set you free.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.