In life, it isn’t always easy determining the best route to bring change. We see things happening in the world around us – whether in our family, our circle of friends, our local church, our place of employment, our nation or even the world at large. New Rules, differing opinions and opposing views can often come into play. But when do we voice our thoughts? When is it appropriate for us to jump into a situation, and when is it best to step back and hold our tongue. Here are a few guidelines:
Speak Up: When it Affects Life, Death or Well-Being
When it comes to your life, your well-being or the life and well-being of someone you love, you most definitely should speak up. A lot of people have trouble speaking up in the presence of authority figures (doctors, lawyers, teachers, police, etc.), but you can question them and still be respectful. It’s okay, especially if you think they’re mistaken.Everyone is human and makes mistakes, but if the mistake could cost you your life or heath, you need to speak up. If your gut is telling you something’s wrong, go with it! You owe it to yourself or your loved one to speak up. If you don’t find the words to express yourself, you may live to regret it.
You know that feeling you get when something is off? It’s also the feeling you get when you agree to something against your better judgement. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, you need to speak up! If you don’t, you’re going against your gut instinct and not acting in your highest good. Your self-esteem will also suffer as a result and you’ll start to feel insecure and second-guess yourself. Remember, you can speak up if you’re uncomfortable without being rude. It’s not about being stubborn or difficult. Rather, it’s about setting boundaries. If you don’t, someone will continue to cross them!
Speak Up: When You Have a Question
Admitting you don’t know something can be embarrassing, especially when it’s something you “should” know. This fear of embarrassment often causes us to remain silent instead of asking for clarification or details. Unfortunately, this means we never learn what we “should” have known in the first place. The bottom line is that asking questions is never stupid. However, it’s foolish to keep your mouth shut for fear of looking stupid.
Shut Up: When You’re Highly Emotional
Emotions make us say and do things we don’t mean. In a highly charged situation, like during a fight with your partner, you may want to say something to anger or shock the other person. But if you’re highly emotional, what you say may not be coherent or it may not reflect how you really feel. You’re just sharing a jumble of feelings that don’t make sense when you’re highly emotional. It’s better to take the time to collect your thoughts rather than speak up in the (heated) moment. Once words are spoken, they can never be taken back—even if you didn’t mean them. Save a difficult conversation for after you’ve cooled down. It could save your relationship!