Do you have something you want or need to say, but you just can’t find the courage to verbalize the words? I understand. Sometimes it’s hard to speak your mind—especially if you think doing so will have negative ramifications.
When you keep the words inside, though, you create a level of internal stress. That stress can result in headaches, exhaustion, illness, and depression. Plus, it affects your relationship with the person with whom you need to speak.
Personally, I hate conflict. I’m always afraid that if I speak my mind, I’ll end up regretting it because I’ll create conflict in the process.
When I don’t speak up, though, I create internal conflict, which depletes my emotional, mental, and physical energy.
So I tend to say what I need to say. But doing so can be hard…very hard.
How to Speak Your Mind
Speaking your mind without forethought can produce conflict. That’s why it’s best to plan out your communication before you open your mouth. (Believe me, I know this from experience.)
If you need to have a difficult conversation, here are a few ways to plan so you achieve the results you desire.
1. Determine the result you want to achieve.
Get clear on the outcome you desire. What do you want to get out of the conversation? How do you want the other person to respond? Consider what you need to say and how you need to say it to raise the other person’s aspiration level, so they also want these things.
2. Visualize your desired outcome.
It can be helpful to visualize speaking to the other person and achieving the outcome you desire. Not sure what to say? Visualize your highest self—the part of you that knows what to say and how to say it—in the conversation. Or visualize your highest self coaching you on what to say and how to behave. Use that information when you have the conversation.
3. Don’t go it alone.
Sometimes the hardest conversations are best handled with a moderator—like a therapist or a counselor. For example, marital conflicts are best spoken about with the help of a therapist who can help everyone avoid anger, derogatory remarks, and defensive behavior. If you don’t feel capable of speaking about the subject without help, find someone with the expertise to help you speak up.
4. Write it out.
If you don’t feel able to speak without anger or resentment, try writing out what you want to say. But do this in three parts: First, write a letter to the person that expresses all your negative emotions, like anger, hurt, and resentment. Second, write a letter that expresses positive emotions, like forgiveness, caring, and love. Third, write a letter that takes a middle path; say what you want to say diplomatically and compassionately. Use that letter as the foundation for your conversation.
5. Get motivated to be “brave.”
Watch this video of “Brave” by Sara Bareilles ” It speaks to this topic. You can read the lyrics below the video. The song always motivates me to say what is on my mind.
I won’t say that speaking up and having touch conversations ever becomes easy or fun, but learning to do so boldly and with equanimity will serve you in many personal and professional situations.
Not speaking up makes living life fully harder. So speak up. And watch how your life and relationships change.
Are you willing to speak up this week?
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