Sometimes it isn’t easy to speak up. No, make that “a lot of the time”. Not about the little things like where to eat for dinner or whether or not that color suits my husband. What I am talking about are issues of substance, contentious issues, delicate issues, emotional issues, volatile issues, heart-heavy issues. In those cases, it’s really hard for me to speak up. Those in my life know that I take my time with my words. I am not a person to shoot from the hip in an argument or a fight. It is almost a physical impossibility for me, actually. My throat closes, my chest burns, and I just…can’t. Sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could yell and scream and call people out but that is not the way I was built. Often, the words that I wanted for that situation do not come until later and, then, the moment has passed and I am unwilling to dredge up uncomfortableness again in order to make my point. And, often, I wonder if that’s not the best thing, but that is a whole other thought process. When I do have enough of a fire in my belly or conviction to speak up – especially when my opinion or view stands in opposition to people close to me – I worry. I worry about what people will think. I sit and churn in fear that something is going to pop up on my computer, on my phone, in my mailbox, with someone ripping me apart for speaking honestly of my mind or from my heart. And that fear can ruin an entire day or even days on end.
While this might not necessarily fall under lalophobia or might even be more accurately described as a fear of rejection, it is something that I deal with constantly. I am a quiet person by nature, not someone who stands tall and shouts at the world or even those around, particularly on volatile subjects, whether they be personal, political, etc. But, sometimes, there are things that I need to say. I check my words against my own judgement, as well as those of trusted family and friends if necessary. Nothing I say or write is said lightly or without consideration. Sometimes I’m wrong and I admit it. But the fear is always there – the fear of being lambasted for having an opinion, for seeing things differently or feeling differently than others. It might not make sense to some or may sound silly to others but there it is. I go out of my way to promote peace and harmony within my community of life, as much as I may, sometimes at the cost of my own voice. And, most of the time, I count the cost as worth it. There are some battles that just do not need to be fought. However, I’m trying to be bolder, and, while that might not mean necessarily conquering this fear (fear can promote caution, after all), admitting to it is a start. At least, that is my hope. I do not want to sacrifice my voice when it is important to me.
So here it is. Sometimes I do not speak up for myself. It is not because I do not have an opinion, point of view, or heart to speak of, no. When I do not speak up, it is because I am afraid. I am afraid that it will ruin your opinion of me. I am afraid that you will be angry. I am afraid that my honesty will backfire and cause pain or hurt. So I stay silent a great deal of the time, silent and thinking.
I want to balance my honesty with wisdom. I want to continue to listen to my gut when it tells me to speak but to temper my words spoken with gentleness and respect. There are hundreds upon thousands of voices (and far more) shouting and clamoring to be heard for whatever reason, on whatever issue, with whatever emotion or feeling – in big arenas and small. Words are one of the most powerful entities in existence, and I want to use them wisely.