Do you find it hard to confront other people about difficult subjects? Would you prefer to send them an email or just avoid any form of confrontation?
If you disagree with the opinion of a colleague at work or a friends behaviour upsets you, are you more likely to stay quiet just to keep the peace?
The result of trying not to rock the boat is likely to be that your feelings or opinions will come out later at a less appropriate time, so it would be helpful to express them at the time.
For most people it is a fear that others may react to them negatively, dismissively or even angrily that prevents them from using their voice. This is a natural reaction to what is perceived as a threat, however I’m pretty sure that most of these situations won’t be life threatening and saying how you feel is a great way to breakdown that fear.
With any irrational fear I suggest that first you listen to the words your inner fearful voice is using and then challenge it with a logical and honest answer.
A typical version of this could be:
Inner Fearful Voice “I can’t speak up or they will be upset and might reject me”
Honest Response “I am going to say how I feel because what I have to say is important to me and I will feel good about myself when I share it”
Or“If I am honest and kind they might not agree with me but they will have no reason to reject me”
As you begin to tackle the issues behind your fear you will find it easier to consider doing what you are afraid of and that you can cope with the reactions of others. An added benefit is that relationships are often better as a result.
If you still find the idea scary, then a good place to start is by using questions rather than stepping straight in with a prepared speech or an impulsive response. This allows you to gain clarity on the other persons opinion and to begin a conversation in which you may feel more comfortable to speak up.
Then become aware of the times when you would love to stand up for your opinion or the people you want to explain how you are feeling to. Think about the approach and the words you would use.
When you find yourself in a situation that you have a strong feeling about and want to back away, promising that you’ll speak up next time. Ask yourself is this an opportunity to try out your new strengths instead?
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