This morning’s sunrise was interesting to me. The horizon line was filled with orange and golden tones while above it lingered dark, black, creature-like clouds that hovered over Lake Michigan like prey. They reminded me of people who attempt to cast their shadows down upon those who dare speak their minds and share their ideas.
And you know what? I’ve started speaking my mind. I used to avoid saying how I felt because I was afraid of the backlash I thought I might receive, or the disapproving remarks I’d hear (what’s the saying, “getting an earful”).
Sometimes people think that silence is equivalent to agreement; in other words, if someone doesn’t speak up to give their opinion then they aren’t against the thoughts or words of others. Many times I’ve heard people say, “Well I thought they were alright with it because they didn’t say they anything”. Such a bad assumption we make as many of us don’t have the courage or where-with-all to truly state how we feel.
I used to think that if I said how I really feel then I’d lose something. I’d lose that person in my life, they’d have a bad opinion of me, and the long laundry list of ‘what ifs’ would fill up the nearest public library. To share my true feelings and opinions meant I’d have to take risks; I’d have to take the risk of someone not agreeing with me. By ‘putting it out there’ meant I’d be questioning whether or not the other person would treat me in a not so pleasant manner.
I used to feel that others wouldn’t like me, or they’d be upset with me if I shared my opposing view. And then, it finally dawned on me. If the person I’m talking with is offended, that is their choice. My intention is not to offend, but if they choose to have their nose out of joint, that is out of my control. I also now realize that more than likely they’ll get over it. The sky won’t fall, the planet will keep on spinning, and I’ll be just fine. I remember on one occasion taking a deep breath, telling someone how I felt, and literally holding my breath to steady myself for the potential negative word-darts about to be hurled in my direction.
My conversational adversary did not agree with what I said; however, I felt better for letting my feelings be ‘out there’ instead of keeping them bottled in the deep caverns of my thoughts. Displeased with my honesty, the person didn’t say too much to me for a day or two. And then, everything was fine. I smiled thinking about the fact that my words may have not been popular with the other person, but the risk I took by sharing them didn’t result in mayhem in the streets.
Sometimes, silence isn’t so golden. But I’ll tell you what is golden. It’s golden to be true to yourself and let the chips fall where they may. That isn’t to say I condone spewing mean or hurtful sentiments to others. No, I mean it’s much better to say what you mean in the most respectful way that you can, but SAY IT! 🙂