Silent Suffering Isn't a Sport
Your roommate is playing their music too loud. You can feel your blood pressure rising. But, instead of asking them to turn it down, you think “…it's okay, I'm fine.”
Your friend picked a pricey restaurant you're not stoked on. Panic about your bank balance settles into your chest. But, instead of suggesting another place, you say “…whatever you want is fine!”
Your partner is very late to your date…again. You feel anger constricting your throat to be waiting alone. But, when they called, you said “…it doesn't bother me, it's fine.”
Your body signals and emotions clearly communicated you had preferences, but instead of honoring your truth you chose to silently suffer.
Here's the deal: there's no awards for World's Greatest Silent Sufferer. Silent suffering isn't a sport. There's no prize for being the most "fine" of all the "I'm fine's" in order to appease others, avoid conflict and/or self-protect with indifference. Women especially have been cultured to wear "I'm fine" like it's a badge of honor, because heaven forbid they be “too emotional” or “too needy” or “too high maintenance” by communicating their needs and preferences.
This failure to act on your body's intelligence systems has dire consequences. Choosing to squash down your needs not only leads to resentment, exhaustion, and disconnection, it creates a neural imprint on your brain that will continually keep you stuck in your muted patterns. The situations above may not seem like a “big deal.” But, when you don't act in the small moments, you miss low-stakes opportunities to build the brain wiring, confidence and practice you will need in the big moments. The moments where speaking your truth will matter not only for you, but for others, i.e. social justice, ethics, high stakes relationships, etc.
The World Needs Your Truth
Leaders and soul-driven humans: the world doesn't need you to be “fine.” The world needs a collective of truth-tellers. Truth-telling makes impact, creates change, deepens connections, and supports productive conflict. Change happens with truth-telling. Indifference keeps the status quo.
What I'm not saying: that you should all be overbearing, over-controlling divas that make domineering demands of others. What I am saying: when the opportunity arises organically to use your voice…lean into it.
Seismic shifts are born from single, high-stakes moments you choose honesty rather than silence. Moments when:
…your colleague uses the wrong pronouns;
…your great uncle uses a racial slur;
...your partner's friend makes a sexist comment.
Truth-telling isn't a phantom of the future. Truth-telling happens in singular, present moments now. Change happens now. A courageous choice and a seismic shift often happen in 30 seconds or less.
A When-in-Doubt Phrase + A Challenge
One thing I know for sure is that your opportunities to be a truth-teller are coming (perpetually). One simple, powerful, when-in-doubt phrase you can lead with is: “I need to speak my truth.” Then, pause. Take a deep breath, and express yourself as firmly, as calmly, as kindly as possible. Your voice doesn't have to be perfect to be powerful. Your best will be enough. Silent suffering serves no one.
A challenge to support your newfound commitment to truth-telling: in the next week, replace at least one deflective “I'm fine” with a genuine preference that leads with "I need to speak my truth." Living in personal power is using your voice, honoring your body's intelligence signals, and taking opportunities for seismic shifts as a force for the greater good.
Change begins one tortoise step at a time. Trust it!
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Build Your Truth-Telling Muscles with Success Skill Intensive 3-Packs
I hope my passion for the power of truth-telling is apparent! So much so, I have coaching packages, Success Skill Intensive 3-Packs, designed to grow your truth-telling muscles. In three 60-min coaching sessions, you will learn how to access your inner truth, you will identify and remove blocks to speaking truth, and you will work on communication tools that take inside truth to outside expression.
If you're someone that knows you're choosing silence over speaking, I can help. Living with personal power is building the skill to live authentically via your words, actions, and choices. One of the most powerful aspects of hiring a coach is the accountability, support and change-inducing tools they provide.
If you want to access the full power of your voice and your inner truth, book your free consult for the Success Skill Intensive 3-Pack here: https://bit.ly/whitneysullivanconsult
*All services offered via Zoom.