From the Harmony Habit Tip Archives (April 2011):
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
~ Susan Jeffers
When people tell me they’re afraid to speak up when someone said or did something that upset them, I often refer to Susan Jeffer’s book: “Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway!” The title alone may be the best advice we can offer when someone needs encouragement yet is frightened to go beyond their comfort zone.
If we allow fear to stop us chances are our self esteem will suffer, needs remain unmet, and resentments may build. Plus, it’s just not a good idea to leave fear in charge!
When I ask audiences how many people avoid having the difficult conversations they really need to have, about 80% raise their hands. That’s a lot of avoidance! So possibly only about 20% seize the opportunity to create the kinds of quality relationships most of us say we’d like to have.
Often we’re afraid to speak up because we worry that feelings may be hurt, or what we say might be used against us – or that maybe we’ll make matters even worse. Sometimes, we simply don’t feel skillful enough to broach the subject.
Taking a risk and speaking openly and honestly with someone not only improves the chances of getting your needs met, it also increases the odds that your self-esteem will go up a few notches and that your relationships may improve. After all, they either will or they won’t; and we can almost bank on them not getting any better if we don’t take action.
This week’s practice:
Think about your relationships both at home and at work. Is there a conversation you might want to have with someone that you keep putting off? What’s holding you back? Is it fear of ruffling feathers, hurting someone, or not knowing where or how to begin? What do you imagine might happen if you actually spoke up?
Instead of focusing on what you may fear, consider what benefits you might derive from speaking up. As human beings, we tend to move towards what is pleasurable and away from what is painful. If you could envision the possibility that a courageous act may lead to greater friendship, teamwork or love, maybe that would be enough incentive to bravely move you forward.
Remember, when our needs aren’t getting met, it’s up to us to do something about it. If we’re feeling dissatisfied with a relationship, the “ball” is in our court.
Is it your time to serve?
Conflict Resolution Program
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