Sandi Langham, LCPC

Do you find it hard to speak up for yourself or advocating for yourself for important matters? Do you find it difficult to speak up for yourself when you have an opinion or want to change something that’s important to you but feel “stuck” inside yourself? Do you wish so badly that you could just get the words out, or have the confidence to speak up for yourself in a way that’s important to you?

Speaking up for yourself matters.

Often we fear rejection from others and will sacrifice keeping our truth to ourselves for the sake of being accepted and staying connected to others. We fear being judged, fear offending others, or fear coming across as too negative. We feel threatened if we release our emotions. However, when we remain in a passive place of holding our thoughts and feelings inside, stressful emotions can build up inside, and sometimes even anxiety can build up. Getting our emotions, thoughts, opinions, narrative or story out actually provides catharsis to us, which is the of release of emotions that have been in holding or repressed.

Benefits to speaking up for ourselves:

It helps you to feel important.

We all want to feel important, like our life and experience are meaningful and matter. This is like the narrative in our head trying to make understanding of life. And feeling important matters. It’s our effort in trying to connect to meaning and meaningful relationships in life.

You risk the benefit of success and accomplishing your goal – a healthy risk in life.

Another way of looking at this is healthy risk-taking. You risk the chance or opportunity of causing something good to actually happen, which is obviously to your benefit. And if you had not spoken up for yourself, you may not experience the benefit of that change you believed in for yourself. While change can initially feel scary, the reward is often wonderful and worth the risk that we took.

Sharing our message can empower others.

Think of all of the changes that have occurred throughout history stemming from one individual speaking up on behalf of others. Whether it was for a social justice cause, a change within a community, standing up for an unfairly treated friend, or even an unfairly treatment family member, sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

How to share your message in a healthy way

Spend quiet reflection time soul-searching what your message is.

In order to get clear and more confident with your personal message, it can help to have some quite reflective time to gently become very clear what you want to share. Often during quite times is when our mind is able to have its clearest moments.

Ground or root yourself in meditation.

Meditation has the benefit activating an area in our brain that has capacity for rational thinking (neocortex region) and a peaceful/calm area in the brain (prefrontal cortex). This can help us let go of unnecessary anxious thoughts.

Choose your heart attitude.

This idea helps us choose a healthy attitude so that ideally our message will be received well. Presenting a message with kindness and compassion makes a huge message in how the receiving message takes the message.

Write down, conceptualize, articulate your message.

By writing down your message before you actually speak your message, allow yourself to be more clear and confident in presenting your message. This essentially almost allows you to practice your message before you actually present it.

If you have found yourself struggling with confidence to speak up for yourself, consider contacting Symmetry Counseling in order to schedule with one of our therapists to increase your confidence.

References

Biali Hass, S. (September 2018). How to Speak up for Yourself with Wisdom and Courage. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201809/how-speak-yourself-wisdom-and-courage
Smith, K., Grant, H., and Rock, D. (March 2019). How to Speak Up When it Matters. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/03/how-to-speak-up-when-it-matters
Spayde, Jon. (January 2010). Speak Your Truth. Experience Life. Retrieved from https://experiencelife.com/article/speaking-your-truth/