For years I’ve been telling women in particular about the importance of finding their voices and having the courage to speak up. How we need to have the courage to confront, name what’s wrong and say how we feel because doing so is an act of leadership which will pave the way for others who don’t feel the same courage at the time.
Of course, as we all do, I teach what I most need to learn and recently I spoke up about something I usually prefer to leave unchallenged. Frankly I avoided this conversation because I didn’t feel like dealing with the backlash raising it would unleash.
Well as I expected, it unleashed some anger and bile and it made me remember all the reasons not to speak up.
- There will be people who will shout you down and make you feel unworthy, uneducated, ill-informed and silly
- You might be rejected by people who have more money, more influence and louder voices
- In some communities speaking up might even put your safety and life in danger.
- It is easier to keep quiet
- It can be scary to speak up
- You might embarrass your children
- You might upset your parents
- You might get unfollowed or unfriended
That’s it for now but I’m sure, if pressed I could come up with a few more.
So with all of these reasons not to speak up, why should we continue to do so?
Because as Anais Nin says “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Finding our voice and using it represents a life force. When we choose to ignore it we die a little inside. Speaking up celebrates life and our responsibility to make the world as we see it a little better. And even though that’s only one reason it’s the very best one I’ve got.