So many times throughout the day today I felt triggered. And when I feel triggered, I usually play small (Read: passive-aggressive) or I become incredibly defensive. Neither is a productive use of my voice.
But today I used my voice much more productively than I have in the past. My partner was off of work and we spent the day together. And I recognize that she’s such an incredible mirror for me. She reminds me of who I am and how important it is that I use my voice.
Getting triggered doesn’t feel great, but it is a HUGE opportunity to learn about myself and truly grow. So I grew A LOT today. And what I learned is that I’m beginning to “lean in” to the discomfort. Each time I felt “attacked” (fiction not fact), I recognized that it was because I had not communicated in a way that I needed to or I actually had been effectively communicating, however, I had to explain myself without getting defensive or becoming passive aggressive. And I had to start each of those very uncomfortable conversations myself. I literally forced myself to get to the bottom of the conflict. It became almost a game. Almost. Games are fun. This was less fun, but more challenging. And I like challenges. I dive into challenges. So by the end of the day, instead of feeling raw and beaten up, I felt empowered and less triggered each time we had a tense interaction.
Now don’t get it twisted. We don’t argue a lot at all. But lately more of these opportunities have been popping up for me to really express myself. I’m also finding that when I do speak up for myself, I struggle with clarity. And I recognized that today, which was huge. When I write, I have no trouble with clarity at all. The thoughts flow congruently and beautifully. Being aware of this significant difference let me know that I had bottled up my speech so much that when it does come out it’s not even coming out clear. It’s almost like my brain is making up for lost time and just trying to cram as much into my speech as possible, so much so that it feels like I’m stumbling over my words. It feels terrible, but I am trusting that it will change over time the more I use my voice and stand up for myself.
Once upon a time, I might feel shame around this, but now, I just feel like it’s an opportunity for improvement. I was once told by a psychic that I would make a great speaker. I cling to that notion, but sometimes it feels like such a stretch because of where I am now. I know in time it will get better. And I’ll just have to spend more time in this liminal space learning how to stretch those vocal cords and allow my voice to be heard. The journey—and practice—continues.
Photo credit: http://katereardon.com.au/getting-over-the-wagon-dance/