Do You Speak Up When You Should…Or Are Things Unsaid Weighing You Down?

mark rothko

(mark rothko)

I had a situation recently where I should have spoken up, but I didn’t.   In fact, I had a few of these situations in the last few weeks.

These vague, weighty, unexpressed emotions weight heavy on a person when they’re bottled up, you know?

You’d think by now I’d just speak up when I need to… but sometimes I’ve found myself unsure of what to say or caught off guard and then… blah… it’s all a vague mess.

For myself it comes down to one big concept:

Emotional Intelligence.

It seems I needed more of it, still do need more…

…and perhaps we all do?

After all, if you can’t really say what you need to say with the amount of clarity that it takes to say it, and if you can’t sit in your position and hear out what other people think and feel and truly listen, then you really, by default, become victimized by life.

I did become quite a victim.  As a victim- defensive, guarded and closed-minded- very little good can happen.

So, today’s big question: Do you speak up when you should? And… even bigger and bolder… do you not speak up because you don’t know how to speak up or you fear the consequences of speaking up?

silence quotes

Emotional Intelligence is beautifully summarized in this description from Psychology Today:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:

1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;

3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

It’ s a tall order.

It means you need to be able to :

1. really understand how you feel and see how other people feel (lots of empathy and compassion involved) 

2. accept your emotions and make them useful, even the bad ones. 

3. not let emotions take you over so that you can be a productive and helpful person in the world. 

—> To start with #1, this meant to me that I couldn’t just say “this feels wrong” when making decisions or dealing with situations in life.  I had to be able to say what kind of wrong it felt.

feelings wheel

Here’s where the awesome feeling wheel came back into my life.  I wasn’t mad… I was critical. I wasn’t scared as much as I was discouraged.  

When I had more accurate words to describe what was happening I could actually make a change.  Suddenly it wasn’t that I was feeling angry and toxic and stepped on… I was able to see how my own critical behavior got in the way of a situation.  I could do something about it!  It wasn’t really fear I was feeling that was making me spin a bit… it was disappointment that discouraged me and once I saw it for what it was… I could try again in a new way without feeling like I had no power.

Does this wheel help you clarify what might be stopping you from speaking up? If you can’t find your “feeling” here you can also look in a thesaurus for some words that seem right and see if others pop up that really help you put a finger on the verbal pulse of what you are feeling.

—> The #2: All emotions are useful.

I came from a place where I couldn’t afford to have too many negative emotions feely expressed as a kid.  You might be in the same place.  Instead I went silent.  The people around me were too troubled and too checked out overall to be able to understand or even listen to what I had to say.

Have you been there? Do you feel like people will judge you or love you less or ignore you if you speak up?

It’s funny, I realized recently that the times this blog went though huge growth spurts were the times I had to get through mountains of negative emotions and I used the blog, almost unconsciously, to fuel my way out of them.

What if the problems you are having can become the springboard to make the biggest positive changes ever?  (*they can)

rothko

(mark rothko has a way of balancing emotion in fields of color)

—> Now for #3: managing emotions so they don’t sink you. 

That was perhaps my biggest fear, that I could get swept under the currents of emotions that were so far from productive that perhaps I’d lose my life as I know it.

Its a real concern. I’d seen people get taken over by the doom and gloom and anger and all of it.

Have you seen someone get taken over by negative motions and seem to sink?

That’s what stopped me from grieving my father’s death, what ultimately stopped me from grieving important losses and what ultimately stopped my life in its tracks.  I feared I would never return from the darkness.

The darkness followed me everywhere until I finally dealt with it.

There are so many outlets for expression of emotions.  Art therapy, therapy, exercise, spiritual practices…

And… most vitally, talking them out with the people who are concerned, if possible. Yep, that’s the scary one sometimes.

bagua

In feng shui, the “helpful people” area of a space relates to “self empowerment.”  It’s the space that is located to the far right along the wall that contains the entrance door.  “Helpful People” is also known as the “Compassion” area.  Clever, I think, given that compassion is often the ingredient that is hardest to access when you are mad, hurt, scared or otherwise in a bad place.  But, it is often the most powerful solution.

* If you need extra reinforcement to start speaking up and feeling yourself fully self-expressed, you might want to try cleaning out this area in every room of your house to start.

When I do this, I tend to clean up and thinking about the idea of compassion while I’m doing it.

* Clear space while thinking about having more compassion for yourself, and more empathy for others.

* Clear some energetic space by getting the energy flowing in your home: simply opening windows is a great start.

* Step out of how you think and what you want and see what other people might think or feel that are involved, if any.

* Be ok with feeling everything.

And when you are ready to confront a situation without being lost in the emotional storm, speak up.

I’ve had to do this a few times already this week… there a few left!… and while you can find your own way, this type of clarification and removing of obsurity can help if you’re stuck.  It’s definitely helped me a ton.

I’ve heard it said that communication solves everything.  In my experience communication only solves things when you are willing to talk about these things and not around them or with fear of them.

My philosophy is that if you lose something because you were honest and compassionate and self-expressed, you’ve lost nothing.  Lying or staying quiet where you are deeply out of synch with a situation is not the foundation of anything good, you know?

But if you speak up, it seems there’s far more to gain no matter how hard it can be.

I just did this myself.  It was intensely challenging.  Frustrating. Awkward at times. Then it all opened up.

Now…the world is wider.

Wherever you feel you’ve lost your voice you have an enormous opportunity to grow as you find it.

xoxo  Dana

 

 

 

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Arunya March 19, 2015 at 7:09 am

Hi Dana,

It was nice reading your post here.
I’ve kept your site on my ‘list of sites to start up when I open my browser’ so every morning I would read something so meaningful, realistic and more of a guide to my mind processes – Thank you for that.

🙂

Aynur March 19, 2015 at 7:23 am

Hi Dana,

I love the theme of how you post your posts.

I used to be the person to voice out my opinions if and when I felt like I should, but I’ve come to a point where more damage seems to be done when I say it out loud than when I pretend it din’t affect me – I know its not healthy in the short term, but for the long term I see that issues just solve on its own when I let them be.

Ps : I’ve kept your site as ‘one of the sites to start up when I open my browser’ so every morning I could read something so genuine, easy to relate to and more like a guide to my mind processes..

Thank you for that.

🙂

danaclaudat March 20, 2015 at 4:21 am

thank you for this message. i totally understand the “let it ride” philosophy… sometimes its so much easier… and I’m always grateful when it works out! thank you for starting your mornings with me- I’m honored!

Barbara April 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Dana, I too, start my day by looking at your website. Your wisdom has helped me immensely. Two years ago, a close relative cut off communication with me , because I spoke my truth and refused to play the inappropriate “middleman” in family dynamics. Today’s comment, about losing nothing if you were honest, compassionate and self-expressive was very helpful and comforting. I’ve gathered my good memories of this person and am moving on, hopeful that in time there will be a mature change of heart on his part,but not holding my breath : ) . Thanks for all that you do!

danaclaudat April 28, 2015 at 3:29 am

Well thank you immensely and I do hope that there’s a change of heart. life is not about grudges, you know?!

Asanas May 22, 2015 at 9:30 pm

A quick note just to say, your post is brilliantly written and I personally gained enlightment from it’s message, a deep heart felt thank you.

Susan Rhodes June 12, 2015 at 1:14 am

Dana you knocked it out of the ballpark on this one. Truly amazing. Thank you.

danaclaudat June 13, 2015 at 9:25 pm

xoxoxo Susan, thank you!

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