When you’re a naturally quiet person, authentic communication can feel really vulnerable. It can turn everyday conversations with friends, coworkers and clients into challenges that can leave you feeling like there’s no room for you to be fully yourself.
On the other hand, courageous communication can make you feel alive. When you express what’s on your mind, it can feel like coming home to yourself.
While it might not always feel easy, it can contribute to building great things in your life like:
- More authentic relationships
- Improved workplace and projects (because they better with your input)
- Richer community conversations
- Greater impact in the world
This has been #saysomethingbrave month for myself and my community, which is all about practicing tiny acts of brave self-expression each day. Not only has it been interesting to hear the stories around these acts of communication, but also of the awareness of the feelings and habits that come up before an after self-expression happens.
If just speaking more bravely was easy, you’d already be doing it.
To create the conditions for courageous communication, you have to start with understanding why it’s not already a habit.
Reasons can include:
- Culture: we learn what’s acceptable according to our perceived role in society, like “good girls are nice and agreeable “
- Living from your past: past trauma in self-expression can create a pattern of stay quiet
- Feelings: it feels scary to speak what’s on your mind. It brings up all kinds of challenging feelings like vulnerability, inadequacy, hesitation, smallness, etc.
- Identity: these are beliefs and opinions that you have about your self-worth and the value of what you have to say for example
- No one cares
- I’m just a quiet person
- I always say the wrong thing
- There’s no room for me
By being aware of how the above play out in your life, you then know where you need to focus your efforts to heal and grow.
Often lack of confidence in self-expression is just a symptom. And, not only that, it’s an invitation to reflect on yourself and who you want to be, and to learn how to make that happen. When you do this deeper work, it becomes easier to step out of your comfort zone with your communication.
The very act of practicing courageous communication can then become a learning tool.
I use the word practice deliberately. Speaking bravely is a skill, like learning to rock climb. You start where you are. You learn on the easy stuff first and fall a lot. The more you show up, the stronger you get. And then, you shift your identity.
You become a rock climber.
Through practice you become a confident communicator.
How do you do this? Here are just a few ideas:
- Identify easy opportunities to speak up and go for it
- Support yourself with love and encouragement
- Accept your failures as opportunities to learn what doesn’t work (instead of beating yourself up)
- Learn how to create safety and still show up bravely
Two key practices to help you be successful are self-care and coaching.
Self-care techniques help to calm anxiety and create resilience so that you can step out of your comfort zone with greater ease. There are many beautiful practices from Ayurveda and yoga that can support you in this way.
Coaching helps you to overcome blocks and old stories. A 1-1 coach can see patterns that can be hard to see yourself and give support and accountability as you work through them. When you learn self-coaching skills (i.e. coaching that you give yourself), you can support yourself in any difficult moment, helping you to stay calm, confident and on course.
I could say SO much about learning to communicate courageously. To help you dive deeper, I have an online workshop called Courageous Communication from the Inside Out, where I cover:
- Where your quiet comes from
- Self-care for courageous communication
- How to handle other people’s reactions
- Creating an action plan for developing more courageous communication
Or, if you’d prefer a one-on-one conversation, I offer a free coaching session that’s exclusively about helping you (no sales pitches, I promise)! See my calendar for availability.