Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — I’m somewhere between going with everyone else’s flow too much, and not stating my mind often enough…I don’t consider or feel like I’m a doormat… How do I feel heard more often without being a bitch? — Quiet Not Shy
Dear Quiet Not Shy,
First off, you’re not crazy nor alone in the world. Here’s what we similarly told Speaking Up for Myself a while back:. There’s no “bitch” in speaking your mind fittingly, but there usually are plenty in those who don’t appropriately do so then choose to gossip instead.
Cupcake, age/stage does make a difference here. Anyone who knew me after junior high, would now likely be shocked to hear I was a very quiet kid. Like you, I wasn’t shy. I was just observing and sort of “getting the lay of the land.” There’s much to be said for understanding and respecting one’s own energy level(s) and allowing for your own flow. One size does NOT fit all. Our culture approves of extroverts but it is not the only way to go. Secondly, how do people treat you? If it’s with respect, then I say you probably only need to practice joining the conversation more until people (and then you yourself) start “asking your opinion.” Babble. Review. Repeat. Appropriately expressing your inner voice is a muscle to be trained. No worries here. BUT if you feel that you are not being respected more often than not, and by many types of people across the board in many life situations, then you must definitely work on being heard more often for your soul and psyche’s sakes.
The dissed and unhealthily silent would probably do well to get to know themselves better to start with (i.e., journaling and/or therapy are options). Then identifying what (emotional) people and situation triggers are possibly keeping one submissive and passive are a first key to disempowering them from within. Trite but true: practice (speaking up) makes perfect.
Thinking aloud allowed,
Dear Quiet Not Shy,
You said a mouthful! There is a balanced position that allows for the natural flow of events (and personalities) while allowing you to steer your own ship. What do I mean? I mean that there is a way of being—standing tall— that does not negate your easy-going spirit. Or turn you into a bitch or a doormat.
Note: Half of being heard is expecting to be listened to—with respect. Take an attitude with altitude.
Now, that being said, don’t let ego take over. One does not expect to be listened to because one is pretty, a princess, sweet, lovable or any other number of manipulative, emotion contorting words that allows a smile to get you through. Expect to be listened to because you know you have something worthy to share. Expect others to want to hear your wisdom, ideas, thoughts. Know within yourself that you are worthy.
Then, clear your throat. Be assertive. The first few times you willingly share your POV you will not necessarily feel confident. Shaky, step forward and offer the words anyway. Of course, since the pendulum never swings to the middle that shaky tone could come out harsh or loud or, well, bitchy. And so it is. You just have to allow for swinging too far right and left before you find the balance. But balanced, comfortable communication in which you feel heard and respected, is not only possible, but necessary.
As you manage forward, feeling your way to say what must be said, do not judge yourself for your range of emotions and do not judge others for reacting defensively. You are manning up and some folks won’t be comfortable with you changing your position as “Easy Going Girl.” Do it anyway. If you are consistent in your new personal power and respect other’s boundaries — but not more than your own — others will come around, respecting you for lengthening your spine and out-growing the wimpier disposition.
For those who don’t get it, well, thank them for showing their true colors early. You do not need people in your life who only want to play with others they perceive as weaker. They’re called bullies and by definition, they don’t play well with others. Leave them to play with themselves.
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