I had to train myself all over again to be a voice to stand up for myself. Over the years I've learned to be silent. How did I get there? Looking back, I can tell you. I heard, “That was stupid” or “That’s BS” or “No, that is not what it was” or “You can’t do that” or anything people will tell you to make you feel as though you are crazy for thinking or believing as you do. So instead of standing up for what I thought and/or wanted, I became quiet. This started my process of suffering in silence.
In relationships, I would go through periods of silence where my partner would probably think that everything was ok, that is until I blew up. This type of behavior is bad for both parties. He does not get the chance to correct any of the things I do not like and I do not get the satisfaction of knowing that he is willing to make changes or sacrifices because of my desires. I told myself that anyone with common sense would know that his behavior is unacceptable! But that same common sense should have told me that how would he have known to change or even explain his rationale, if I didn’t say anything? Plus we know that common sense isn’t as common as we would like to think ;-)
So I go on dropping hints and subliminal messages hoping that he would catch what I was saying, or should I say not saying, instead of opening my mouth and just talking. Sadly, mostly women do this. Ladies, we can’t go through life being okay with the things being done that we don’t like. Hoping beyond hope that the person or persons will learn to treat you better...act better...pick up behind himself...love you the way you want to be loved...or whatever you are hoping for...that you haven’t voiced. You have to get verbal, not argumentative, but verbal. Learn to communicate your desires in a manner where he hears you or anyone who you are talking to hears you. Use the “I feel like when” statements (yes I tried counseling before) to voice your emotions.
This is not just for relationships but in life. My mom always told me, “Brina, a closed mouth don’t get fed”. You have to be an advocate for yourself. To live the life you desire, you have to communicate effectively. Is it easy all the time, no, but it does allow for your voice to be heard. Here are a few tips that I have learned, unfortunately, the hard way.
1. Listen – most of the time you cannot effectively communicate because instead of listening to what’s being said you are plotting a comeback response in your head. You are not in a debate, but a conversation, so you can listen to and actually hear what is being said. This technique alone may help you decrease the number of arguments you get in and reduce the amount of foolishness you respond to.
2. Don’t withhold – withholding information on your feelings hurt you more than it does the other person you are talking with. How can you resolve any issue or finish a project if you are only given half of the information? You can’t! So be effective in your communication and let others know all that they need to know in order to make a proper response and create an effective corrective action plan
3. No beating around the bush – talking in circles and taking the long route quickly bores people with what you are saying and they (like me) will eventually tune you out. Unless you are illustrating a point, keep it simple.
4. Be civil – You yell, I yell. You call names, I call names. It is childish and gets you nowhere. Even if the other person gets irate, ignorant or confrontational, don’t follow them. Stop them and the conversation and schedule it for another time. Once the wrong words are said you can’t take them back; therefore it is best to wait until all hearts and minds are settled down before you continue talking.
There are a lot of other things you can do to learn to effectively communicate what you need to say. The above was just a few that I try to remember. Also if you are going to enter into a conversation where you know you are going to become emotional, it is best to write down talking points. Have your talking points with you so you are sure to say all that you need to say. In the midst of the conversation, it is very easy to forget what you needed to say because emotions have taken ahold of you. Remember life is what you make it and you can make a very nice life for yourself through your words and actions. So take the time to learn the tools and techniques you need to be effective in all you do. Be blessed…