Speaking our truths can be the best and hardest thing that we ever do, but how do we know when to speak up and when to shut up.
Words have power. Famous quotes ring through our head with encouragement; words from our parents shape our views on the world, we speak to communicate who we are, what we want, what we believe. Sometimes our words are regretted; sometimes our truths are never spoken out loud, sometimes we live in gratitude for the moments we were able to say what we really felt. Words can remain caught in our throats or spoken without forethought, without hesitation. Whether your words are shouted from the roof top or buried under a pile of regret, your words, your voice, your ability to communicate is powerful and meant to be utilized.
When to Speak Up: It is one thing to think of ending a relationship or quitting a job, but once those words are spoken others are affected and their actions, which are out of our control (even the control freak in us all can admit this), can deeply affect us. What we tend to forget in our most fearful moments is that speaking our truths and experiencing the effects of this action can be the most powerful and life-changing thing we can do for ourselves. Change is constant and keeping your truth from the world can cause anxiety and depression; you can even start to feel like a prisoner or passive observer of your own life as you avoid change through silence.
We create the world we live in every day, and when we close up and don’t communicate, it can have the opposite effect. We can become miserable at our jobs when we are underpaid, our relationships become exhausting when our partners don’t truly know us, and the list goes on…. No one sees your talents or uniqueness unless you show them, so speak up!
When to Shut Up: There are so many times when we wish we would just stop talking, or words we wish we could take back. We say hurtful words that we later regret simply because we “know” this or that. My Guru, Ma Jaya, calls this “the desire to be right” This is when we are so stuck on being right we forget everything else that is at stake. “You usually lose more than you gain from the desire to be right; you lose friends, you lose time, you lose yourself (The 11 Karmic Spaces, p. 176).” It makes you wonder, what would have been the cost of silence?
The color blue, the element of sound, the planet Mercury, the stone of turquoise and the goddess Saravati represent the fifth chakra where words originate. “It is the realm of consciousness that controls, creates, transmits, and receives communication, both within ourselves and between each other (Wheel of Life, p.236 J. Anodea).” Here, what we want and who we are is brought into creation and then communicated to others. When we ask for a raise, ask for what we need out of a relationship, or tell someone when they have crossed a boundary, we are creating what our lives are about and how we are treated.
When you find yourself wondering whether to speak up or shut up ask ourselves, is it my ego or my heart that is itching to “speak up”? When in doubt take the time to simply get quiet. With intention, the stillness you create will allow you to drop into your heart and out of our buzzing mind.