Someone reminded me, recently, that one thing she learned from me, was the importance of speaking up for herself. If you observe something that you think is not correct or justified, whether it pertains to your own experience, something you witness or simply thought about, remember your voice, and speak up. It might be a complaint you have about something, or a concern. If you thought it, speak up about it. It may be a question of the way things are done. If you ask yourself, ask others as well. We need to realize that our thoughts can push us to question things some times and even make things better for ourselves, and others. Our thoughts and ideas can improve our relationships, and the systems that make up the structure of our society, if we choose to share them.
It also allows us to be heard for what our true beliefs are, and follow through with our belief system, by sharing our perceptions and opinions with others. Speaking up becomes the process for us to become our true selves.
What good can come from keeping concerns or ideas to yourself? Speaking up is an opportunity to bring your ideas and thoughts to the attention of others. There may be reasons things are not right. Furthermore, it reinforces the thoughts you have by giving you the chance to collaborate with others.
This is how significant changes can take place. Things and systems are always “one” way, until there is a different way.
There are deterrents to asserting ourselves, that exist. Perhaps, we fear we will draw too much attention to ourselves. Clearly, if we choose to keep things the way they are, and keep our concerns and thoughts to ourselves, we will not have to face those who disagree with us, or disapprove of our ideas. We would not have to engage in a potential conflict.
It can be decreased self -confidence or concerns about others’ opinions that can prevent us from being ourselves, and may prevent us from speaking our truthful thoughts. This is exactly why developing the strength and self confidence to speak up despite the dissent or opinions of others, is so important.
We may encounter others who disagree with our ideas. We may come into contact with those who disapprove of our choice to be outspoken. Let us remember that we do not choose to speak up to win their approval or form deeper friendships. The reason we speak up has to do with our thoughts and who we are, not others, or their thoughts. Remembering the reason can be significant- we recognize something that we feel needs to be addressed or changed, or we think we will feel relief from following through on what we notice. We have voices. We need to use them. This is part of our purpose. We need to remember our strength. If we do forget, believing in ourselves and support from those who believe in us, can lead us to greater strength and self-confidence, and further, to achieve our goals.
Jennifer Shrier LCSW