Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. Robert Frost
So many of us have held back saying something that we think or feel for fear of the reaction by another. Whether that other is a loved one, acquaintance or stranger, more often we “stuff” our feelings and/or leave important words unsaid.
We may be afraid that the other person will be discontent, disappointed or angry with us. Some of us may not be willing to take the perceived risk of speaking our truth, thus saying nothing and ending up angry or resentful or angry ourselves.
Is Speaking Up Worth it?
Sometimes we are concerned about…
- What will he/or she think of me if I say this?
- Is it really that important?
- Is it really worth it?
Often we view speaking out as confrontation, which has a negative connotation for many. Some may feel it’s easier to sit quietly and wait for the storm to pass than to find the courage to speak up. Although doing so could run the risk of not establishing our own emotional worth in the relationship, or end up potentially damaging the relationship by building a wall of resentment.
As per Liane Davey, Ph.D, who served as an evaluator for the APA Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, “You could be just as responsible for the dysfunction on your team as your aggressive, combative colleagues. That’s because it’s a problem when you shy away from open, healthy conflict about the issues.”
You Can’t Avoid All Confrontation, but You Can Improve How You Deal With It
Every day we deal with situations or people that don’t meet our expectations, or respond how we desire. Confrontation can be defined as hostility, defiance or opposition, yet it can also be seen as a “bringing together of ideas, themes, etc., for comparison” (as defined by dictionary.com). These conflicts can cause feelings of discomfort and uncertainty. Examining our own responses to confrontation, instead of denying, or avoiding, our emotional distress can have a result in positive emotional growth.
What does Confrontation Mean to You?
Each of us has developed a method of dealing with confrontation based upon how conflict was addressed in our family, our personality, or from the situations we have endured in our life.
For many of us, confrontation has a negative connotation. It means raised voices, hurt feelings, anger, or silence and comes with the consequences of getting hurt in either a physical or emotional way. The response we received as children when we expressed our opinions may have shaped how we deal with issues as adults.
Do You “Stuff” Your Feelings?
For those of us who swallow our words, it could be because we are avoiding a confrontation because of the fear that it could result in some kind of potential pain.
For more tips on speaking up and dealing with confrontation you can read my article here:
My wish for you today is that if you’re faced with an uncomfortable confrontation you find the courage to validate your feelings and speak up.
-Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director Nassau Guidance and Counseling