Why is it so hard to say the words?

In our last e-news we met Mary who was dealing with the problem of how to balance meeting the requests of her team with her own needs. You can read this article by clicking this link. Are you saying yes, when you want to say no?

The lesson looked at how to shift from an automatic yes to a considered yes. This can bring up many fears. What if they get angry? What if they don’t want anything to do with me anymore? What if I never get another opportunity like this again?

Today we will address the fears that may present when you speak what is true for you.

Let’s return to Mary’s story…

Growing up Mary was always the good girl. She liked to help and she learned quickly how  to make other people happy. If she tidied her room, her mum was happy. If she didn’t, mum got mad. 

When her friends asked to go shopping, she went, even though she didn’t care much for shopping. Mary learned the hard way what happens if you say no. Some friends would exclude her and whisper horrible things to others. This made Mary really uncomfortable.

At work, she loved it when her boss gave her additional responsibility. Mary knew it was because he trusted her. She loved knowing she had done a great job. It was nice to hear it it too.

It was hard for Mary to let people down. She hated saying no. She knew there were times that she was lying to herself. It just felt easier to pretend, then to say what was true.

Now it wasn’t feeling so good. She wanted to say what was in heart. She wanted her communication to be real. She just didn’t know how.

It was like the words were stuck in her throat. Worse, she kept loosing her voice and that was becoming a real problem. Her job relied on her communicating her ideas to her team. This was affecting her confidence and her health.

So why is it so hard to express what is true for us?

Firstly, this is learned behaviour. You have learned how to modify your actions to please others. To do otherwise is to go against how you see yourself, your identity. It also goes against how others see you. Their reactions can leave you feeling really insecure. It is possible to learn a new way.

Secondly, the imagination gets on board and creates all sorts of worst case scenarios about what MIGHT happen if you speak out. Even though this is rarely the truth, the story is very captivating! It helps to examine what is really true here.

Thirdly, the fear of rejection, of going against the tribe is a very real biological fear. It is natural to want to feel part of the group, speaking out brings up these natural fears.

It is really normal to feel these feelings. It is also understandable to want to feel safe in these situations AND make a change.

This simple exercise will help you create safety while taking some simple steps forward.

Think of a situation where you want to express what is true for you.

1. Write down a list of all the fears and concerns you have about speaking your truth. Circle the top three fears. The ones with the most energy around them.

2. For the top 3 fears do a reality check. On a scale of 1 -10 with 1 being “highly unlikely” to 10 – being ‘for sure’ rate how likely it is that the fear will come true.

3. Create safety around the top fears. What is one thing that you can do to minimise the risk of that fear coming true and still act.

Let’s look at an example.

Situation – I want to share with my team leader my idea for our next professional development day.

My top three fears and the likelihood that they will come true.

The idea would be rejected and I will be embarrassed. 7

That he will say yes and the team will hate it and me 5

I will loose my job as a result. 2

What can I do…

I can make the distinction between him rejecting my idea and rejecting me! I can spend some time getting my ideas on paper and do my research before I take them to him. I can run my program by Jenny who I trust first, maybe we can fine tune it together.

Closing thoughts…

Have you ever been in a situation where you want to say something and you don’t. Then you finally get up the courage and the other person says… “I have been wanting to talk to you about that too!”

Often what you are longing to say, the other person is longing to express too. We free each other when we communicate from our heart. This is what builds real relationships. So I ask you this, could you be the brave one here and take the lead?

If you know it is time for you to bring some courage to your communication then I would like to introduce my new program. Real Expression: 3 Powerful Sessions to Express Your Voice. To learn more, click on this link. Real Expression.

Support is always available, if there is something you wish to share or to ask, you can do so here. Contact Shiona


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