Speak Up

Confession: I feel completely vulnerable writing this post.  After all, who likes to shed light on one of our weaknesses? Well, here goes….shine the beaming light on it! I am ready to discuss.

Am I the only one who struggles with speaking from your heart? I am not just talking about in a relationship, but this pertains to work, every day interactions, emails etc. Specifically, I am referring to speaking up when you feel there is an injustice or you feel slighted in some way. It’s easier to do this with someone you feel extremely comfortable with (although that comes with its own set of challenges), but how about expressing your heart with someone whom you may not know how s/he will react.

Ugh. This is hard for me. You feel so exposed when you tell someone you feel hurt. It’s like you are fully naked and they can see your insides. My issue is I sometimes choose to ignore it, rather than face the hurt. It’s the cowardly way to exit the situation. But, you know feelings like these don’t ever really go away. They sit there, become stagnant, and sometimes grow into resentment or even worse, hate.

One of the reasons why I struggle with this is (1) I feel scared and (2) I get too emotional.  I’ve already discussed the fear of exposure, but let me go there about my emotions. I wear my heart on my sleeve (hence the name of this blog). It’s just who I am, but I cover it up when I feel threatened. If I do manage to get the courage to speak up, I usually get overwhelmed with emotions and end up crying at some point, whether privately or publicly. Totally embarrassing.  It’s much harder to get your point across when you are dripping with tears and other things coming out from your nose.

So, what do you do if you are like me? Stay quiet? Nope. I’ve decided now is the time to change this and get the strength to speak up. Below are some tips that have helped me do this.

Step Back

This helps with the whole emotional bit. It won’t completely eradicate it, but it will help give you perspective and strength to speak up. It’s amazing what time will show you when you allow it to. You build courage you never knew existed.

Share It

I feel very lucky that I have my dearest Mr. ShuGar, a loving family and some close girl friends I love. Whenever I feel the need, I can turn to any of them and talk it out. By doing so, you can gain perspective on how you want to approach the situation. You should always still listen to your inner voice, but those you trust can add a new dimension of insight into what you have experienced.

Note it

I am so forgetful these days. I need to be reminded why this is important to me and the particulars of the circumstance. This helps me detail how I want to respond, rather than spontaneously have a verbal diarrhea moment. It helps to jot down your key points so that you can understand your own thoughts and emotions.

 Practice It

Total nerd alert here, but I do practice my speech in front of the mirror! Several times! You know what they say: Practice makes perfect or something close to it. This can aid in memorizing the key points you want to address as well. I like to stare at how I am presenting myself. Remember, you can’t control what others think of you, but you can control how you present yourself.

Find THE Place

Whenever you decide to have “the talk,” make sure it is in a safe environment where you feel you can fully express yourself. Having this speech in line at the supermarket or in front of a crowd of people may not be the ideal situation. It also might throw you off of your game with all that you have been practicing.  I like to do this in my car or in a private room.

Just Say It

At some point, you are going to have to swallow your fear and just say it. Once you get going, you usually get momentum and everything else comes out naturally (if you practiced).  Don’t try to prolong the inevitable and change the subject a million times. Gather the strength to be the one to start off the conversation with something along these lines,”I need to talk to you about something that has been on my mind.”

I have learned to trust myself and my instincts. We are stronger than we realize. Embrace your heart and say it. It feels so good once you do.

Photo credit: Hurt Heart

Cup of ShuGar is a series exploring the sweetness of life. For more Cup of ShuGar, click here

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  • That happens to me a lot. Its just the idea of talking about things I care a lot about, makes me feel vulnerable. I feel that being scared of rejection or negative comments is the worst obstacle, it takes time and practice to get rid of this and start speaking up about what you feel.

    • Yes, it’s exactly that fear. Glad I am not alone on this one. Talking about something from the heart is hard to do. I am trying to do it more and more these days and practice does make it easier, but I do have a long way to go. Hugs, amiga!

  • yes speaking from your heart can be very vulnerable and leave you feeling exposed. I struggle with this and I think a lot of people do. Putting yourself out there is a scary feeling, but worth it sometimes.

    • Thanks for sharing, Alecia! It is really scary and I feel like a spotlight is on you. It is totally worth it and you feel so much stronger each and every time. I feel that it helps me grow.

  • i had the same issue. i had a hard time speaking up when i felt wronged by someone because i didn’t want to cause more tension. so i ended it with my feelings hurt. but it had a bad side effect – i would vent at home and i would not let it go. even a year or two down the line i would bring it up because some other incident would remind me of it. i never had trouble though speaking up on injustices though. or when someone was picked up or bullied or made fun of. i remember fighting bullies on the playground or even when i didn’t speak up, i remember reaching a hand out to someone who always sat alone at lunch, etc. i think i knew the hurt and pain associated with that (having moved a lot and switching schools and making new friends, etc.) that i didn’t want anyone else to feel that way. but i think this also translated into me not wanting to speak up when i felt hurt because i didn’t want them to feel bad as i did. but i realize now that it’s not about speaking up and saying something to make them feel hurt. it’s about trying to make them see things in my way and understanding the implications of their words. thanks for another lovely post. you seriously can be a coach for many people! in the workplace and in life in general 🙂

    • Thanks, sweet Jane! I love reading your comments! You are always so kind and thoughtful. I totally admire you standing up against injustices. That took a lot of guts and courage to do that. I agree with you that if you don’t say anything, it just festers and gets worse.

      Now, I realize speaking up is about getting the other person to understand your perspective, even if they don’t agree with you. It puts you in a vulnerable position, but sometimes you have to go there to express yourself or else no one else will speak for you. I’m getting better at this as I see how important it is. Hugs, friend!

  • Etta

    I have learned that it is better to say what you are feeling then not saying anything at all. It hurts more when you keep things locked away. As time goes on, I share what I am thinking regardless of who it might offend because I always ending up regretting not speaking up.

    • You are sooooo right! It does hurt more. You end up causing yourself pain. Yup, regret is the only thing you carry and that can weigh you down. I have also learned just say it. It feels so much better to speak from your heart than hide it.

  • So true! It can be so difficult to speak up. I often do not cause i feel scared people won’t like me. I think i have gotten better though. I do think it is important to talk about things that may be bothering you or else it can lead to resentment or misunderstandings. Your point about finding a safe environemnt is so true!

    • Exactly! What if someone thinks you’re crazy or overly sensitive? There’s always that fear. It is our own responsibility to get the courage to do so. It’s not easy, but with practice it becomes something that is more manageable. A safe environment is def helpful! You want to feel comfortable when talking about something uncomfortable. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Kristen Genevieve

    Such a great post. I totally practice what I want to say, too! I have two ways of handling difficult situations – 1. I tell myself that it doesn’t affect me and force myself to not be bothered about it; accept that the person is who they are and I can’t change that. Or, if I can’t drop it, 2. Get emotional. I don’t mean that I break down & cry, but I just speak what I feel in a way that doesn’t offend but that almost says that I am the one with the problem with the way things are because I can’t drop it.
    Sometimes choosing one of these means that I don’t often say how strongly I feel in the moment, especially when it comes to work situations. But when dealing with relationships, I find that wearing your heart on your sleeve (as you said) makes people more empathetic to your viewpoint & more willing to change. I think it’s important to make sure that you’re not blaming the other person, just explaining how they have made you feel uncomfortable.
    Love how open you are in this post. I think most people feel the same way, especially those that are more introspective. 🙂
    xo kristen genevieve

    sunnywithachanceoflemons.blogspot.com
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    • I love how you explained the two situations! I def do the second one a lot. I am working on that one. It’s important to not blame the other person. It’s a fine line and that’s why I think it’s important to practice and see how you sound. I find that these situations make me feel like I am growing as a person because I feel vulnerable, no matter who is involved. I feel stronger now to do this more often, but I am def a work in progress!

      I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I love reading what you have to say! You give great insight.