Not speaking up has a negative impact on your emotional and mental well-being—at least it does mine. It’s a bit like carrying around dead weight, weight that pulls me down in the dumps but as soon as I have my say, I feel uplifted.
Let’s be clear about what having your say means and what it does not mean. First, things first! It does not mean blowing off steam or telling someone off at the top of your voice or engaging in a futile argument with someone about politics, religion, or morality for that matter.
It’s more about saying and doing what is healthy and right for you. And how you say it matters too, according to bestselling author Cai Graham, guest on UIO’s podcast, Your Voice Matters.
In our chat the author of The Teen Toolbox and I agree that having your say is not always as easy as it sounds. It can be tricky when there is looming peer pressure, for example. That’s why it is important to understand the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence and use them both effectively to get your point across, particularly when it matters the most.
In a nutshell, self-esteem is about how you feel about yourself in a particular situation and self-confidence is believing in your ability to do something.
Makes a whole lot of sense to me, which takes me back to my first point. Often when I am feeling low about myself or a situation, upon review I will conclude that I didn’t have the confidence to have my say. Owning and understanding this gives me the confidence to put it right and it often gives me a segue to the right words.
For example, I might say, you know I was thinking about our recent conversation and, I prefer we agree to disagree about women’s rights, political beliefs, whatever it is that has caused the upset. I need you to respect my views but as and when this is not possible, let’s not talk about it. Otherwise, it is a strain on our friendship, whatever the relationship is, and because I value it, it is imperative that we avoid these explosive conversations.
Now that’s confidence. No screaming, yelling and naming calling, just putting your point across, remembering that your voice matters. The namesake podcast is out September 6. Listen here or wherever you listen to podcasts.