How To Speak Fearlessly
There is something extremely vulnerable about speaking your mind. I often hear that public speaking is the most commonly shared fear. Why? Because we know that the moment we voice our words in the presence of others, we can’t take back anything they just heard. Our words will be subject to the affirmation or rejection of each individual listener. Our opinions, beliefs, and ideas become exposed for everyone to know. Speaking freely, or speaking our truth, brings with it a lot of risks to consider in the workplace. When we want to offer new creative ideas, allow others to get to know us, have critical conversations, or voice concerns, we often allow our right of free expression to be inhibited.
I wish I could say that I have always been comfortable speaking freely, but the reality is that I learned to fear honest communication at a very young age. I was raised to follow the direction of authority figures without question, and certainly without spoken opposition, regardless of whether I felt something was right or wrong. As I grew older, I found relationships that were woven with this restrictive interaction (both personal and professional), because it was familiar. I finally realized I had allowed others to construct my life to be everything but what would make me happy, and I knew it was time to for me to rise above it. My journey to consciously become a fearless, outspoken person has been quite an experience over the last several years of my life. This process unceasingly molds me; and while it is every bit of rewarding, it can be a difficult path to take. But let me emphasize again…it is by far the most liberating and fulfilling path.
Today, I want to share with you some valuable steps I learned to help you achieve fearless communication in every facet of your life.
Acknowledge That You Have An Inner Voice.
You don’t need to be afraid of it. It’s easy to hit the “off button” on your inner voice when you have to push through a tough job, or protect a tense relationship. Sometimes you imagine that speaking your mind will only lead to retaliation against you. But fear often convinces us that someone else’s voice is more important than ours, or that we’ll remain on safer ground if we ignore what burdens our hearts or stirs in our minds. It’s not safer there, it’s just more miserable there. We exhaust our energy and precious time trying to suppress the thoughts and feelings that arise without notice. They arise because something within us is asking us to align with them. Ignoring your inner voice doesn’t make it go away, it just makes you more quietly disheartened. So, instead of pretending it isn’t there, courageously acknowledge that it is.
Hear Out Your Inner Voice.
You don’t have to agree with it right away. Just hear out the thoughts that are already there - the good, the bad and the ugly. Part of overcoming that personal fear of speaking is gaining clarity about what you want to say. Take personal quiet time to listen to all that your inner self wants to say, without edit, self-judgment or reservation. When and where did these thoughts and feelings begin? Have they intensified? Why or why not? Honor yourself by opening up space for yourself. Once you have a roomier perspective of your inner workings, you can decide what does or doesn’t truly reflect who you are or what you believe, and what you want to own or discard. You can take these private moments to sort out what you want to say in a way that best represents you.
Own Your Personal Truths.
Life is too short to wander around questioning your worth and validation. You are enough. At the most simple truth, because you are alive, you deserve the same kindness and respect as the next person, both from yourself and others. You were born with a unique identity on this planet and you have every right to exist in the fullness of it. Do not compromise your core beliefs simply to fulfill the demands of someone else.
Release The Lie That You Must Remain Silent.
You owe it to yourself to break through the barriers that have been put in your way throughout your lifetime. Maybe your parents never gave you a voice or the kids at school bullied you. Maybe stakes are high for your reputation or a boss threatened you’d lose your job. Maybe an unhealthy relationship partner didn’t respect you or religious teachings convinced you. Whatever the reason, if you have somehow adopted a belief that it is better to remain silent, then you must not remain silent. Give that lie back to whomever handed it to you in the first place. You have no use for it anymore, and all that is beautiful within you is ready to be out in the open.
Remember The Power In Your Words.
I have often heard the saying, "Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out." Balance your courage with caution. While the goal is to openly and unapologetically express yourself, pay careful attention to our message delivery. Ensure that your motivation to be honest is presented with respect to the place and position of your listener. Your approach can significantly impact the reaction that you receive. I have learned that presenting a message to others with the kindness and respect that I seek for myself will often alleviate a negative response. And while retaliation may be inevitable at times, we can rest assured that we have delivered our message in the most responsible way possible.
The more you practice self-improvement and self-growth, things that once seemed like such huge hurdles begin to minimize and eventually can disappear. Kicking fear to the curb enables you to unashamedly walk in the fullness of all that you are meant to be. As you become more in tune with your internal compass on a daily basis, you can defeat the ongoing threats to your right to speak up. You can be a beam of light that your family, your friends, your workplace, and the world around you needs. Free yourself to do so, and you will empower those who listen to do the same.
Keena Jeffery lives in Austin, Texas with her fiancé and daughter. Her first memories of having a love for writing were the short stories she composed in kindergarten, and she has nurtured her passion ever since. Along with her professional working career in the Human Resources field, her first novel is in progress and she will be soon launching a personal blog. Stay tuned for more!