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Speak Up!

Do you know anyone who has a hard time being direct?  Many people would rather avoid conflict and keep things inside than communicate directly.  They are worried about hurting the other person’s feelings or fear the reaction they might receive.  Two ways people communicate indirectly are through being passive and holding everything inside, and being passive-aggressive and getting back in a subtle and covert way.  Neither communication style is healthy or effective. Then there are those individuals who choose passivity for a period of time until the anger, resentment, and hurt accumulates to a boiling point causing them to lash out aggressively.  What prevents people from speaking up and sharing their feelings openly, honestly, and directly?

Recently we took a long car trip and I was reminded of one of my pet peeves, “not using your turn signal.”  Driving on the highway and watching people change lanes left and right without putting their signal on drives me nuts.  Some people also choose not to use their signal when driving around town.  What makes them decide not to inform other drivers where they plan on going?  Maybe they don’t think that communicating their intentions is that important or they really don’t care.  Or maybe they choose not to take responsibility for their actions, are too busy, or assume others can figure it out themselves.  Who knows what the logic is, but I’m correlating this behavior with people’s lack of communication in general.  Have you ever thought to yourself, “what were they thinking when they decided this?”  We can only assume because people don’t communicate directly.

Whatever your reason for not communicating directly, consider how difficult it is for others to know what you are thinking or feeling.  Especially those that are close to us deserve a better understanding and explanation of your emotions and thoughts.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to have a close and intimate relationship with someone if you can’t share your thoughts and feelings with them, even if they are negative.  Hopefully we can communicate assertively, kindly, and lovingly so that others can receive it and not be offended by what was said.  If you have a problem with someone, let them know since that increases the likelihood of resolution and is also beneficial for your own emotional health.  If you can’t share it face-to-face then try writing it out and either reading it or sending it to them.  Remember conflict that remains in your head will never be resolved; it needs to reach your lips.  Speak your mind, get if off your chest, and communicate it respectfully.  Pay attention to your tone of voice when communicating, but don’t let it fester inside because the emotion grows and when it’s eventually shared it won’t be pretty. Whether it is a personal or working relationship, thoughts and feelings need to be expressed otherwise that relationship will result in detachment and eventual death.

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