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Sometimes, speaking up isn’t as easy as it sounds. Let’s say you’re having a problem with someone. Just go and talk to them – easy right? You’ll talk, they’ll listen, and you’ll come to a solution without any issues.

In a perfect world that might work out fine. But in reality, things aren’t always smooth sailing, and that can make speaking up waaaay harder.

There’s a bunch of things that can make us feel stressed out, hurt, or overlooked, but the idea of communicating how we feel often has us running in the opposite direction, or just accepting that things won’t change.

The thought of confronting difficult stuff can make us feel absolutely terrified, but remember this:

Nothing takes away your power more than being silenced.

If we want to keep our wellbeing in check, we’ve got to find the courage to deal with our problems. Talking them out is one of the best ways to do this. Here’s why:

  1. Sharing our problems with others
  2. Strengthen relationships
    It can help us strengthen relationships. Avoiding issues can make things much worse and even destroy our relationships with others.
  3. See things from a new perspective
    We can see things from a new perspective. For example, that friend who says nasty things might not realise they’re hurting your feelings.
  4. Opens the door
    It opens the door for receiving support, even if the problem remains.

So how do you find the confidence to speak up?

Let’s take a look more closely at simple steps that allow you to be heard and get your point across…

  • Approach the issue with positivity. Focus on fixing the issue rather than pointing fingers. Things will go smoother and others will be more likely to listen.
  • Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements, it’s easier for the recipient to receive this info. Instead of saying, “you always say mean things,” try, “I feel hurt and uncomfortable when you say that mean thing.”
  • Stay focused on the issue at hand. Bringing up stuff from the past and lumping it into one basket will not necessarily be helpful.
  • Pick a time when you are calm, not when you’re feeling emotional. Try setting aside a time in the future to talk.
  • Choose a place where you will feel comfortable to talk.
  • Write down what you want to say in advance. If you get emotional during a conversation, it’s easy to forget what you want to say.
  • Know the resolution you’re aiming for, but be willing to listen and compromise. Good relationships are based on give and take where appropriate.
  • Be willing to seek help. If you can’t reach an agreement, suggest inviting a mediator into the discussion. A mediator should be a trusted adult who has no involvement in the disagreement (like a teacher for example). Their role is to make everyone feel heard while a solution is worked out.

Like everything in life, good communication takes practice, and the more you practice, the better you become. Don’t give up!


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