To say something or to say nothing: That is the question

Sometimes not speaking up leads to increased anxiety, agitation, helplessness, or feeling taken for granted. Sometimes it leads to feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.

Sometimes the experience of being “upset” is an indication to pay attention, take notice, and to take action. Sometimes self-defeating or problematic behaviors exist to communicate to oneself that something needs to change.

Sometimes, when upset, people will rant and rave about the problem to anyone who will listen, but they will avoid expressing anger directly towards the person with whom they are upset.

Here are a few things to remember:

If nothing is done to change a problem or situation, there is no good reason for it to change. In other words, not speaking out will not change problems.

There is a benefit to being able to tolerate some degree of tension in a relationship. It may be that you will put the information out there and the other party will not like it, will not tolerate well, will have reasons to dislike you because of it, or will punish you for making it explicit. Sometimes, if you put the information out there, it will be up to the other person to decide what to do with it. It is possible that they will have difficulty getting their mind around the information.

If you are thinking of speaking up about something that has been bothering you, how would you do it in such a way that you feel good about yourself? How would you address it without losing your self-respect?  Consider planning what you would say- then rehearse saying it with an emotional intensity that matches the message.

PS. (More information on matching emotional intensity to the message is available in the 7 steps for sailing through emotional storms- just join my mailing list!).