How often do you say what’s really on your mind in the immediacy of the moment? How often do you not, and why?
Do you ever find yourself frozen – editing every word, phrase and syllable, consciously wondering what people would think if you spontaneously expressed your thoughts?
If you’re anything like me, my guess is that you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to both questions.
And you’ve probably answered yes to both for good reason. For you’ve come to know through years of experience, that it’s sensible, appropriate, noble, respectful, and wise, to think before you speak.
And this is true. After all, you wouldn’t want to offend anyone would you?
But that’s just it. For though its sensible to weigh how and what we communicate — I’m not advocating for a moment the opposite! — there is a risk here too.
Because in some instances our hesitance to share our thoughts, felt experiences, concerns, or anything else for that matter, is influenced by something far more sinister — fear.
Fear of looking stupid.
Fear of imaginary expectations.
Fear of appearing naive.
Fear of rocking the boat.
Fear of looking weak.
Fear of being too intense.
Fear of appearing arrogant.
Fear of offending.
Fear of upsetting people.
Fear of being perceived as a pessimist.
Fear of overstepping the mark.
Fear of reprisal.
Fear of _____________ (fill the blank)
The list goes on.
The trouble with this is that when we fail to communicate because we’re fearful, we slowly lose our inner sense of integrity. And in not being true to ourselves, our perceived intrinsic worth begins to plateau.
When this happens we become those who measure our worth by how accepted we’re made to feel by others. And this is dangerous. For us, and those around us.
For in this perspective shift, we start to become what we think others want us to be. Or worse still, what they’ll ‘like us more’ for being.
So the real challenge is not so much in weighing up what and when to speak, but rather in identifying and overcoming the thing that restrains us.
And if after some reflection we believe that to be fear, we need to address it quickly, or risk losing ourselves.
So come on, speak up. What’s the worst that could happen?
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