Do you remember when you were an infant and someone said to you, “Use your words. Come on, use your words!” Well, you probably don’t remember someone saying this to you, but if you are a parent, aunt or uncle, you may be familiar with this simple phrase.
It’s what we say to infants to get them to talk and use their voices to tell us what they want and need.
As we grow older, somehow the adults around us stop saying, “Use your words,” and start saying “Shush!” or “Be quiet!” or “Keep it down; you’re too loud.” We get asked to stop using our words – and our voices.
For too many, this simple experience shuts off your ability and instincts to speak up about what you want and need, what you’re interested in, what you like and don’t like, and how you feel about things. You end up living a life in silence about the things you don’t enjoy, don’t want to experience, and don’t feel you can talk about with someone in business, in your family, with your life partner or in your community.
You feel stifled by society – and sometimes in your life.
When I grew up, the band Supertramp sang a popular song called “The Logical Song,” in which their lyrics started with:
“When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.”
When you were young, it was okay to giggle, laugh, coo and use your words. Maybe when you were growing up, someone shushed you and asked you not to use them anymore.
If you want the people around you in your life – in business, at home, your friends, and in your community – to understand who you are, what you want, what you care about, and what you like and don’t like, then you are going to need to find the courage to speak up and let them know.
The more you use your words, the more effective you will be at living the life you want.
So Speak Up!
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