I hate confrontation. It could be the smallest issue that I need to bring up to the nicest person...but it still makes me so uncomfortable. As a business owner, misunderstandings and disagreements are a part of my every day life and so I have had to learn how to deal with them. Lately, I have found myself reverting back to old habits of not speaking up in order to avoid conflict. Why does vocalizing a thought that I am having make me anxious and uncomfortable? After a lot of introspection, I realized it's because I value respect and fairness and I am hypersensitive to being managed or manipulated. My aversion to being managed was one of the things that made existing in corporate America really difficult for me. I've reached a point in business where I now have to manage other people and so I'm always scared of coming off as a micro-manager because. I. HATED. THAT. I have come to realize that I filter my thoughts a lot and many times will keep quiet about things that I am uncomfortable with in order to avoid conflict. I also keep quiet because in my mind I feel like speaking up for myself and my own interests, especially when they are in conflict with someone elses, means that I am somehow being selfish or unfair to the other person. With my team members, I want them to like me to maintain a harmonious working environment. However, many times it means that I don't do a good enough job of explaining expectations. I've also noticed that I get so wrapped up in how and when to confront someone that I end up just not doing it, even if it is something small.
My intention for this week is to speak freely. I am letting go of needing to figure out the perfect time and the perfect way to express my feelings and just saying them. I'm letting go of needing for people to think I'm selfless..because I'm not. I've made many sacrifices in my life because I value my happiness above everything. To me, being happy is the absolute most important thing that you can do. I believe being happy is the path to living your best life and to inspiring others to do the same. I believe that one happy and peaceful individual has an exponential ability to create happiness and joy in others. So I'm going to be protective of my happiness because it does matter and because it's bigger than me.
You know I'm a plans and action-items type of girl so I've come up with a plan for the week of exercises to keep me focused on my intentions. If speaking up freely is something you want to improve on, I invite you to join me in trying these out. If you think they're BS, TELL ME!
5 Exercises to Improve Self-Expression:
1. Every morning, take 3 minutes to say something out-loud that scares you. This could be an insecurity you are dealing with or a truth in your life that you don't want to face. Being open and honest with yourself is the first step in being able to express yourself openly to others.
2. Engage in an activity that allows you to get out of your head and let loose. This could be a dance or workout class or just cranking up your speaker and dancing by yourself in your room. Allow yourself space to act without inhibition (responsibly...)
3. Journal exercise- Think about a time you didn't express yourself and write down a new ending to the event where you do speak up and speak your mind. Let yourself image what would have happened if you had expressed yourself in that situation
4. Make an effort to express one positive thought to someone each day. It may be easier to express something nice to someone than to saying something that may bring about confrontation.
5. Engage in creative activity. Research (and by research I mean google) shows that creative activity allows you to transform the energy from your thoughts and feelings into something tangible. Practice expressing your thoughts and feelings freely through artistic activities like painting, writing or coloring. I am grateful that photography offers me a creative outlet but since it's also work, I am going to try something different this week...stay tuned.
I want to hear from you! Do you struggle with speaking up and expressing your feelings? If you try these exercises, let me know!!