Do You Think Someone Should Speak Up?

Yesterday morning a wonderful group of sincere inquirers called in to Summer Camp teleconference to question their stressful thinking.

The painful concept that appeared on someone’s worksheet was that someone they love should speak up.

I could relate immediately.

Have you ever had the thought that someone you care about should speak up? Say it? Stand up? Drop the quiet thing and ask for what they need?

Oh boy. I’ve had this moment with one of my kids, with a very good friend, with my dad…..and with myself.

I’ve even had people in my past say this to me, like….dang, you should give him a piece of your mind, you should tell her off, you should stand up for yourself!!!

But what every inquirer noticed in our group was that when you believe it to be true, and it’s not happening, you feel aggressive about it, frustrated, annoyed, pushy, anxious….

….and something about the whole desire for someone to speak up feels off.

You are against that person being as they are, all mute and quiet over there.

Some people feel that without the belief that speaking up should happen, then they would lose, be passive, be crushed, or be used.

It’s really helpful to ask yourself why speaking up needs to happen, from you or anyone. (And then you could ask yourself also why speaking up is frightening, if it is.)

But let’s look at that other person right now, who should speak up.

I once had a really great friend in college who was super crazy shy. Funny enough, he was also a performer, so he was on stage often. He rocked the house in theater.

But when stuff happened in his personal life, and he needed to make a request or state his point of view….he got really mumbling nervous and careful and hesitant.

He should speak up! Gawd! Spit it out!

Is it true?

Oh. Well. I’m not sure, truth be told. There could be good reasons why not talking is helpful, or waiting to speak is a calmer idea.

No, I guess it’s not true.

How do I react when I believe that thought?

Frustrated! Critical! I roll my eyes and don’t want to deal with him. I feel separate, and superior (yikes). Inside my head I’m noticing what a dorkish, weak, pathetic person he is. I think he’ll never get anywhere in life, even if he’s a good actor on stage.

Kind of intense!

But who would I be without the thought, in the presence of that person who should speak up?

A huge weight lifts off my chest, out of my heart. I feel lighter, relaxed. I notice the dearness of that person and how gentle they are, so willing to wait, be soft with words. Maybe they are confused, and yet they don’t fight or push.

I see someone doing their best, who has a different idea than me about what should be said.

I turn the thought around: he should not speak up, I should speak up to him, I should speak up to myself.

I sit with these turnarounds and look for examples.

What I wanted with this speaking up business was for him to be happy and content. Maybe he’s already happy and content, without speaking up.

Silence is pretty awesome, that’s for sure.

Oh, and perhaps since I’m the one taking notice of speaking up, I could open a conversation myself, kindly, about what I’m seeing….with my friend.

Ultimately, could I be yearning for some kind of speaking up to happen inside MOI?

Yes, I could stop speaking poorly about myself, I could stop chattering away at what I did or did not do well, I could notice how much I love that quiet non-speaking friend, child, or parent.

I could see how much happiness and contentment is present here, inside me, inside that other person, whether speaking happens or not.

Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.~ Miguel Angel Ruiz 

Today I notice how gentle I feel towards all those sweet people who didn’t speak up confidently, and how gentle I feel towards myself for not speaking up confidently when I thought I should.

“True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true. Wise men don’t need to prove their point; men who need to prove their point aren’t wise….The Tao nourishes by not forcing. By not dominating, the Master leads.” ~ Tao Te Ching #81

Much love, Grace


3 thoughts on “Do You Think Someone Should Speak Up?

  1. Just read this in today’s Seattle Times in David Brooks’ column and found interesting parallels with what happens with the Work and not needing to speak up and explain oneself:

    “Everybody is dealing with how much of their own alivenesss they can bear and how much they need to anesthetize themselves.”

    … children are not burdened by excessive self-consciousness: “As young children, we listen to adults talking before we understand what they’re saying. And that’s, after all, where we start — we start in a position of not getting it.” Children are used to living an emotional richness that can’t be captured in words. They don’t worry about trying to organize their lives into neat little narratives. Their experience of life is more direct because they spend less time on interfering thoughts about themselves.

    The lesson from childhood, then, is that if you want to win the war for attention, don’t try to say “no” to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say “yes” to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.

    The way to discover a terrifying longing is to liberate yourself from the self-censoring labels you began to tell yourself over the course of your mis-education. These formulas are stultifying, Phillips argues: “You can only recover your appetite, and appetites, if you can allow yourself to be unknown to yourself. Because the point of knowing oneself is to contain one’s anxieties about appetite.”

    Thus: Focus on the external objects of fascination, not on who you think you are.

  2. “True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true.”

    How relaxing to realize I and others don’t have to speak up, make a point, say it right, make others understand my viewpoint, say anything. Without that need to speak up, a more spacious world exists.


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