Speak up, Speak out
by REBECCA COOLEY
What are you most afraid to say?
There are so many reasons why we stay quiet.
So many reasons that we choose silence.
Sometimes it feels like silence isn’t a choice.
That others are expecting us to keep voiceless.
That the consequences of speaking up and speaking out are overwhelming or overpowering.
We weigh the risk and cost of speaking our truth and fear kicks in.
There have been so many reasons in my life why I have kept silent about things that mattered.
There have been people telling me my whole life to stay quiet about so many things.
I know I'm not alone in the experience. I see it all the time. Hear of it from my colleagues and my friends.
I hear about the workplace bullies who use emotional manipulation or threaten loss of jobs if you speak up ...
The society that encourages silence ...
The families that guilt and shame their members into silence...
The bullies benefit from the silence.
They benefit from the power they hold over others, power made possible by silence, emotional manipulation and fear tactics.
But what is the cost to those who keep quiet in the face of injustice?
those who stay voiceless when either ourselves or others are being harmed?
those who don’t speak up when people in the workplace are being verbally assaulted by their supervisors, yelled at and cursed at?
those who turn the other way when they witness violence privately or publicly?
I don’t blame these innocent victims, we each must make our own choices about speaking up and when and if.
But there is a cost to staying quiet and it's very real.
There are things we need to say in our society
in our families
in our workplaces.
Too much has been left unsaid and it’s time to speak up as individuals and make things right where and when we can.
Believe me I understand the reasons we stay quiet. I understand all too well why silence is chosen, and why I have personally chosen silence in many instances.
I understand the debilitating fear.
I understand the worry and the concern of being ostracized.
I understand all too well what happens when you speak up at work or at home.
The fears are founded.
You may lose your job.
You may lose your family.
You may lose your friends.
You may lose a lot.
All can be lost in this world when we go against the grain and go against societal conditioning to stay small and stay quiet.
You see that’s how the conditioning works...
It’s how it keeps you silent.
It focuses on the punitive
on what you will lose.
There is so little positive reinforcement focusing on what you will gain.
So here it is… Here's the positive:
Your personal sense of power
Your knowing that you do make a difference to yourself, to others, to your community
Your understanding just how powerful your voice is
I do not blame or seek to push those who are not ready to speak up to say what needs to be said.
I would never do that.
After all, for some things, it has taken me over thirty years to speak up and speak out.
But if you can see the harm in the silence,
if you can see the cost of keeping quiet and not speaking up or speaking out,
if you know you are ready to speak up and speak out...
I say go for it!
For me, it is a lifelong journey to speak up and speak out. There have been so many things in my life that I have kept quiet and in my own small way and today and every day, I'd like to end that silence...
Things I have kept quiet about and would like to speak out against:
the war against the Syrians
US foreign policy that keeps the US strong at the expense of others
companies and the people and greed behind them that create toxic chemicals and put them in our food, our water, the ground, and the products we use
sizing people up because of economic status
making judgments about others based on skin color
institutional racism and bigotry
the injustice toward homosexuals
Things I would like to speak up for:
the children in internment camps
young black men
people who work in toxic and emotionally abusive work environments
people who are neuro-diverse (dyslexia, autism, ptsd, depression, anxiety)
What about you?
Has this article helped you in some way? Do you have anything you'd like to share? I’d love to hear below.
About Rebecca Cooley
Rebecca Cooley is a Master Coach and Mindfulness Instructor who is dedicated to helping people break free from mindset blocks, conditioned beliefs, and self-judgment. Rebecca has been through every single challenge she writes and teaches about and has committed herself to sharing what she has learned and is learning. She has created a number of on-demand Master Courses and offers Private Coaching on Stress-reduction and Mindfulness, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Interview Preparation, and Career Exploration to assist her partners with reaching their goals. She is dedicated to helping her partners increase their joy, peace, purpose, freedom, compassion, and connection. [Read more]