I was talking with a few individuals over the weekend, and the topic of keeping things inside came up. It made me think about growing up and how we are taught to communicate. Growing up my dad always said that children were to be seen and not heard. We were not given a forum or safe place to speak up and say what we felt. Often I knew that I disagreed with my dad, but if I spoke up and said what I really felt, I would hear the wrath of my father. He always felt it was disrespectful to go against his viewpoint.
Ah, the anguish I felt to have to keep my thoughts and feelings inside. My home growing up either had thoughts and feelings put under carpets, stored in the attic, or they came out with rage and anger. I never saw the balance of real communication. However, somehow I was always fascinated with how others communicated. When I saw a man gently interact with a woman, I was fixated. When I saw a couple communicate amicably even while in a heated discussion, I was intrigued.
It was not until I was in college in my early twenties that I found my voice. I can almost remember what it felt like. I was writing a paper for a Sociology class, and in the process of writing that paper, something shifted and I knew that it was a pivotal moment in my life. I had found my voice. Ironically, the paper I was writing was on the topic of “voice” and in writing that paper, my voice had surfaced.
I no longer keep my thoughts and feelings inside. My dilemma now is to continue to work through the balance between speaking up and saying what I think needs to be said, and how that voice comes out. There is a graceful way to be bold and direct, but also to do it in a way that the other person can hear what you have to say. If you are angry while being direct, you can piss someone off, offend, and turn them away. Speaking gracefully for me is a work in progress. I do not always do it right, but I am learning along the way. The important part is that I speak, use my voice, and have it out in the open.
Do you keep things inside, or is it easy breezy for you to say what you think?