Are you ever in situations where you don’t speak up, and you’re not sure why you are silencing yourself?
I’ve noticed this in myself and in others. And this tendency to not speak up is especially critical these days, when silence can equal violence.
Besides that article about speaking up against racism (linked to in the previous paragraph), I’m also looking at a helpful article by Kevin Daum that discusses 5 Reasons You Should Speak Up (Even When You Think You Shouldn’t). For me, the highlights of that article are that
- Silence is deemed approval and is not an effective way to avoid conflict.
- Many stay silent because they don’t want to do any harm by criticizing or offending someone.
- It’s important to show your commitment to the process by being vocal.
- Honesty builds trust, especially when combined with tact and empathy.
- What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to others.
- You may not be alone in your thinking.
Are there other reasons to speak up? What might get in the way of you speaking up about that, here?
For me, what gets in the way of speaking up includes:
- fear of doing harm,
- fear of being misunderstood,
- fear of feeling alone,
- fear of being attacked for my opinion,
- fear of exposing myself or others,
- fears that are difficult to describe but which have lived in my heart for a long time,
- wanting to maintain harmony whenever possible,
- internalized sexism,
- internalized ageism,
- the saying “silence is golden,”
- not being sure, in the moment, of what I want to say,
- wishing to hear all sides before I decide what I want to say,
- denial about what is going on (if the situation feels uncomfortable),
- believing that the time to speak up has passed,
- mind-reading, catastrophizing, and other cognitive distortions.
However, when I don’t speak up, I usually regret it. It’s helpful for me to
- remember that I CAN speak up next time and
- forgive myself for my past silences, because guilt and shame are silencers.
Are there reasons to speak up about my pictures from yesterday?
Please don’t be afraid of those right and wrong buzzers and speak up in a comment, below.
I also want to speak up about my friend Megan …
… who gives me the courage to speak up. Yesterday, we spoke up to each other about the pandemic, racism, privilege, our work as therapists, the death of a shared patient from COVID-19, difficult people, uncertainty, masks, politics, hopes, our children, the past, the present, the future, and our long-time friendship.
Nothing gets in the way of my speaking up about my gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — to YOU.