Written by Shayna Moorer, guest STRUT Contributor
Even though the phrase, “Say It With Your Chest,” is purposed to be funny, it’s relevant. I see it as more of a command, and I tell myself this often because I’ve found it very hard as a 30-something-year-old woman to say what I want/need explicitly. For many people, especially women, being clear and concise or direct often gets misconstrued as being mean or aggressive. The fearless person I am in my mind is severely different from the rehabbed people pleaser I’ve been groomed to be.
Without giving you all a full-blown therapy session, I want you all to think back on your personality. How were you groomed? Me personally, I know my throat chakras have been blocked for quite some time, which is another topic for another day. I say this because of how I was raised. I grew up in a “Because I said so, Do as I say not as I do” type of household. There was no real room for uncomfortable or challenging conversations. Coming into my adulthood placed me at a disadvantage because I had no idea it would take YEARS to come full circle to address my voice.
It’s very limiting, puts you behind as you grow into your adult self, and you can’t effectively express yourself. If you can identify or say what you want and need but leads to more problems and establishes poor communication. Communication is important in all aspects of your life. There is no way of getting around if you are a poor communicator.
Listen To Yourself, Honesty
A few ways you can identify and strengthen your communication skills is to start with honesty. I say this because you have to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. Your attitude and body language can stifle how others communicate with you so making sure you are in a space to effectively communicate is key. When you are NOT then speaking on it should come next. More times than not, we tend to add to our load instead of expressing our true feelings of not being in a capacity to take on another person’s conversations.
For example, you’re at work and having a horrible day. Your colleague approaches you with office gossip or her own issues. Instead of telling her you can’t right now, you barely listen and engage with a few “Wowwww, that’s crazy.” Everyone won’t ask your permission to put their heavy baggage on you, so you have to give yourself permission to set boundaries and exercise your right to say I don’t want to talk right now. Or whatever the task maybe, if you’re not feeling it or don’t understand it, it’s your duty to yourself to advocate for you.
Another way to strengthen communication outside of honesty active listening. Active listening is defined as “a technique of careful listening and observation of non-verbal cues with feedback in the form of accurate paraphrasing that’s used in counseling, training, and solving disputes or conflicts. It requires the listener to pay attention, understand, respond, and remember what is being said in the context of intonation, timing, and non-verbal cues (body language). This differs from other listening techniques like reflective listening and empathic listening.”
Word of Advice
As I bring this to a close, I want to let those people who are like me know they are loved and have to stop sacrificing parts of themselves for others. For those who couple venting with complaining so you never say a word, STOP THAT ISH!!! Openly communicate your true feelings, good, bad, or indifferent. Exercise your voice, understand that expressing yourself is necessary, and it doesn’t make you a bad person when you use your right to disagree. You do a disservice to yourself and your peers when you’re not speaking up. It’s unauthentic and overall unnecessary. We are no longer in the days of “Do as I say not as I do.” It can do more harm than good most times.
Until next time good people, that’s the way ShayMo Sees It.