One of the trickiest balancing acts I know is when to speak and when to remain silent. You know, that moment in a meeting or a conversation when something is said and your words seem to rise from your belly and land in your throat. Either they come right out or they lodge there in your mouth.
As a child, I was taught that my words had a great deal of weight and that I needed to be very careful about what was said, to whom, and when. And because of my personality, I was scared enough of making a mistake that I probably went too far and became really deliberate about what I said. Taking great care in choosing my words has served me well. I'm often the one asked for the politically correct and polite way to tell someone to bug off without making the listener angry. I've never known a language well enough to translate, except maybe the language of diplomacy.
While knowing how to carefully speak my words is an important skill, I have also come to realize that in the process, I silenced my self. I learned that it wasn't my words that could get me into trouble, it was the emotions I was feeling with them and expressing emotions and feelings was not good. I learned that food was an excellent way to keep those feelings stuffed and down in the gut to the point where I had pretty much stopped feeling anything at all. The word to describe it is "numbing." I didn't realize what I was doing as a child, but that's what it was.
But in the last few years, I've started rewiring all that. I've given myself, my true self that I have kept quiet all these years, the chance to be. This week, I read the following post from Seth Godin's blog. It resonated with me and I just wonder if it might with you, too.
You Already Have Permission
You have permission to create, to stand up, to speak up.
You have permission to be generous, to fail, to be vulnerable.
You have permission to your own words, to matter and to help.
No need to wait.