Hello, my name is Kate, and I’m a bite-your-tongue-a-holic.
But first, let me back up. I had intended to write a light, uplifting post about taking some time to look back on 2014 and how cool it can be to give yourself the chance to see what you accomplished, what you did that you’d never done before, the lessons you learned…you get the idea. I did this very activity this week and it was insightful and inspiring.
But then I heard from a couple people who are dealing with some big, wacky, dark crap, and I experienced some of that action myself. And it makes sense, because that’s what hectic times, such as the holidays, do—they turn up the intensity, making things that have perhaps been simmering bust out in a full boil. (My brilliant friend Judi wrote about it here.) So I switched my subjects for all of you who may be experiencing some of the same kind of stuff.
So, then, back to my opening line! This is me, coming clean: I spent most of my life not saying what I truly think. Not all the time, and not when the stakes were low. But it’s more than fair to say that I have a definite addiction to keeping the peace, and to not making other people feel bad. It’s a compulsion I’ve done a lot of working with and growing around, but one that I also need to stay continually aware of and curious about, kind of like any other addiction.
Because here’s one thing I know about swallowing your words:
It feels awful. Like churning hot lava in your guts, a lead apron on your heart, a vise around your soul.
And it keeps you disconnected from people, because when you slap on a smile or change the subject, you essentially go dark inside.
So if things are going sideways in your life right now, take it as a sign that it is time to open your mouth and start talking.
It may be scary. It may be upsetting. It may be inconvenient. It may be painful. But it is also a gift, because it is a chance to be true to yourself, perhaps for the first time. And the truth will always, always, get you where you need to be.
There is one crucial key to speaking your mind and having it be a positive thing: Make it your intention to simply share your experience. You are not responsible for controlling the outcome. Your goal is to relate, not control. (This is from a most excellent book on this very topic that I keep on my night table and have recommended to numerous clients, Getting Real: 10 Truth Skills You Need for an Authentic Life.)
What sharing your truth is not about:
- Being mean
- Doing any kind of power play
Also: you are not responsible for how other people react to those words. You’re just not. In fact, you couldn’t control their reaction even if you gave it everything you got.
If this topic is speaking to you and you’d like more, I’ve got a gift for you – here’s a link to a lecture, called “100% You,” I gave on this very topic last year.
I know I for one am looking forward to the holidays as a chance to keep refining my new loose-lipped self. J Hope you take the opportunity to do the same.