T O B E C O M E M O R E C O N F I D A N T I N S P E A K I NG M Y M I N D
If I had to choose my most important goal for 2018, that is it.
Like most introverts, I often prefer to observe rather than contribute… particularly in situations of debate or tension — my vocal rhetoric skills have never been my forte.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been self conscious of this trait. But, I’ve also complacently accepted it as something I cannot change.
I remember being that student in high school that was always on the edge of her seat, brewing with contributions to make in class, but couldn’t seem to get a word in amongst her vocal pears. Every time I did have the chance to speak up, it was always well-received, but I was usually stuck waiting patiently to be called on.
I remember being the quietest member of my sorority’s executive council. And despite the fact that I was third in line to the President and I controlled all of our finances, I allowed myself to shrink to the point where I had no decision making power whatsoever because I was too afraid that what I had to say would not be positively received by my outspoken peers.
I simply do not know how to function amongst groups of confident extroverts.
I crave calm, collected environments in which everyone is respected equally and everyone is given their turn. I thrive in intimate circles where there is a sense of trust among each participant, and no one is shouting over the other to make their point.
But, as life has taught me over and over again, those safe, intimate experiences rarely — if ever — exist in the real world.
As much as I pride myself on my ability to effectively observe and analyze any situation, and the skills I have developed through embracing my introverted character, it’s becoming more and more clear that one can’t simply live a life of purpose if they are constantly waiting their turn, waiting for someone to ask their opinion, waiting to be granted the opportunity to speak their mind.
So I have challenged myself to break out of the neat little box I’ve constructed around my ideas over the past 24 years.
I have challenged myself to speak my mind, knowing that I won’t always be able to express my opinion in the most perfect, eloquent way, knowing that I’ll say something wrong here and there, knowing that others won’t always like what I have to say. I have challenged myself to be okay with all of that.
Because my opinions, my thoughts, my ideas, they matter. They are passionate, caring, innovative, and forward thinking. They could change the world, or at least one small part of it. And for that, they are worth sharing.
I’m done allowing myself to be a slave to all the things I should have or could have said. I’m done hiding behind a computer screen or a pad of paper, which have become the places to which I escape when I have so much to say but am afraid to speak it out loud.
2018 will be the year in which I manifest confidence in the words I speak.