How many times have you said, “Just say it” to others or yourself? I know I’m always thinking it: Just get it out, speak it. SPIT IT OUT!
Because the truth will set you free. There is energy behind your feelings, needs and opinions. So when you hold in your emotions, don’t say what you want, and hide your opinions, you are holding back yourself. You try to live the lies, but the cognitive dissonance between your true reality and what you’re trying to present to the world will eventually make you implode.
We grow to believe we are what we do; that is, we think we are how we present ourselves. For instance, if you’re always quiet, you will think of yourself as someone who doesn’t talk much at parties. Conversely, if you’re always gregarious, as something to hide behind, you will think you have to be the life of the party. If you keep holding back your true self, you will grow to believe in this facade more than you believe in yourself. And you will start to think less of yourself.
Self-talk can be vicious. You’ll talk yourself out of speaking up. But when you don’t speak what needs to be said, you are emotionally holding your breath. That holding becomes a behavioral and stress pattern. You become tense.
A man getting his voice
NOTE: I’m not talking about always opening your mouth with your opinion on everything, everyone, and every situation. I’m talking about speaking your personal truth, about how you feel about yourself and situations that affect you.
John grew up in a family where the only one who was allowed to speak was his father. His dad was a despot who ordered his minions to care for him. John’s survival strategy was to keep his mouth shut and not be seen. It worked. John survived his childhood. Unfortunately, he learned to keep his mouth shut too well—so well, in fact, he became a great follower who took orders from his boss, his wife and his kids.
John was bright, affable, and funny, so he had everyone fooled. He even had himself fooled. But he couldn’t fool his body. All that emotion that he held in eventually expressed itself… as a heart attack. Fortunately, he was near a hospital, and he survived.
Unlike most heart attack patients, John fundamentally changed his behavior. He realized he needed to improve more than just his diet and exercise, though; he was already working out and eating well. He was taking good care of his body, but letting his soul die away. His heart HURT. He needed to express.
He got the courage up to join a men’s group. Through a year of watching other men express, and then experimenting with his own expression, he transformed his communication style. John still had his wit, but his humor was no longer a passive-aggressive attempt to express what he was holding in, or a diversion from what he was feeling. His wife told him she felt she finally had a husband. She became more affectionate once she felt he was really present, and she didn’t have to be “the sole decision maker.”
John’s co-workers started coming to him for advice. He was the man they trusted the most, because they knew what he felt and thought. He had their backs in meetings. Others would cower under the pressure to speak up, but John just spoke. When a promotion came up, John got it.
The most rewarding aspect of John having his voice was that he gained his own self-respect. Until he got it, he hadn’t realized he’d lacked it! Suddenly, living—really living fully, and being present—he had energy to do things with his kids. He was engaged.
John grew up. Through having the courage to speak and the willingness to risk screwing up, he grew out of being the boy who couldn’t speak to being a man who has an impact on the world. John told our group that his life evolved into something he never imagined.
How or why do you not speak? How are you like John? Do you know a John?
On Monday I will post Steps to doing it come back to learn simple steps on how to do it
[photo By s2art]
[…] the good. It taught me to stand up for myself. Part of what I did was speak up. As I write about in Just Say It, there is nothing more powerful than a man getting his voice. And in the follow up post, I write […]