One of the challenges I hear from women has to do with speaking their truth. They either know what they want to share but don't say anything, or they don't know exactly what to say in the moment so they hold it inside.
I spent most of my twenties and early thirties being what I call "nice and quiet". While it was helpful in certain situations, to pause and observe my own behaviors and the subtleties of another person, being "nice and quiet" was a huge limitation. The truth that I often swallowed created illness in my body, tension in my relationships and even showed up in my finances at times.
This might be very difficult to understand for someone who does not have a problem speaking up for themselves. But to those of us "nice and quiet" ladies out there, you know what I mean! There is a deep fear that others might not like you, they might not agree with you, they might feel uncomfortable and they might think its too bold and honest.
I am a huge fan of experimenting with different approaches to see what works before committing to any one practice. For me, as a recovering "nice and quiet" girl, I found a way to move beyond fear and start speaking my truth, both personally and professionally.
1. Notice how you feel inside
I am able to decipher now when its time for me to speak up. I usually feel warm inside. I feel nervous. I feel a fluttering in my chest or stomach. I start to notice my mind comes up with all kinds of valid and ridiculous reasons not to speak up. These are all indicators to me that its time to share whats true for me, even if it might be a different perspective or upset the other person.
2. Excuse yourself
If you need to step away for a moment to gather yourself and your thoughts, that is okay. Excuse yourself to the bathroom and do the following in a safe place versus on the spot. The more you do the following exercise the easier it will become and the more you will be able to do it in the moment.
3. Take a deep breath
Inhaling and exhaling one conscious breath centers you and brings you into the present moment, into your body and out of your head. Breathe in over the count of five, filling up your belly, rib cage, lungs, heart, shoulders and neck to your mouth and then exhale by doubling the count over ten seconds releasing your neck, shoulders, heart, lungs, rib cage and belly last. Slowing down your breath helps you ground and connect to the true feeling.
4. Center yourself in your heart
Bring your focus to your heart. Feel the love. Center yourself in your heart. One of my spiritual teachers said its not what you say but the energy with which its riding on that matters most. When you speak your truth from your heart, that love will be felt through your words. Stick to sharing "I" statements about how you feel and whats true for you versus pointing the finger at the other person.
5. Give gratitude
Be gentle and kind with yourself after you share. Acknowledge yourself for speaking up. Give gratitude for the exchange, even if it wasn't "positive". Smile and laugh with yourself. The more you positively reward and experience the aliveness afterwards, the more you will be willing to claim your truth again in the future. Try not to rehash the conversation, focus on what you did or did not say or what you could have said differently. Allow yourself a respite and schedule a time to have that conversation with a friend, mentor or coach if you really need to.