August 8, 2015

Knowing When to Speak Up or Shut Up.

Ally Aubry, Flickr

Warning: Naughty language ahead!

Dark chocolate does something to me. Anyone who has ever tasted the rich,  semi-sweet sensation of a 98% pure cacao understands that this sacred sacrament from the heavens above is not to be messed with.

Most recently I was triggered by someone eating all of my dark chocolate and leaving only the wrapper for me to find.

Chocolate is my meditation. As I savor my mindful daily bite I discover instant serenity.

You can only imagine the panic and chaos that follows when someone steals my chocolate.

It starts out with some internal dialogue:

“Really? You could have thrown the wrapper away at least—I mean, couldn’t they have saved a little piece? That was not the cheap dark cacao. Should I mention something? That sh*t is supposed to be savored for almost two weeks not devoured in two days. I want my dark chocolate!“

Then a wall of tension arises. My body physically tenses to the point of pain.

I start holding my breath.

The chocolate assailant asks a non-chocolate related question. I give a short answer while a laundry list of reasons runs through my head about why this person needs to f*ck off, meanwhile hoping they will go away so I can manage this painful temporary paralysis before I say something that will cause unnecessary pain.

Often, another’s action will trigger emotional responses and thought patterns that make it difficult for us to speak up.

It seems so simple, “Just ask.” However, anyone who tends to be a fixer, peace keeper, healer or an internalizer knows this to be difficult.

In our minds, it’s easier to digest our feelings in private before reacting.

The internal process begins based on a discovery of an action, such as someone eating an entire bar of luxury dark chocolate with the perfect balance of spices and purity that was suppose to support my chocolate affair for the next two weeks.

We become hurt or angered that a certain expectation wasn’t met. My instinct to conceal my anger prevents me from letting the person who has upset me know that I am internally reacting to their poor behavior.

My reaction becomes a solitary act.

I’m self aware enough to know that my triggers stemmed from my upbringing. I grew up in an alcoholic household. I learned early on that if I had an opinion or was upset about something, I sure as hell kept it to myself.

The negative side to this is that I struggle with intimacy and opening up. I struggle with being direct on very basic daily things.

It’s been a continuous struggle to overcome these patterns. I am evolving.

Growing up into what I think of as an adult, I’m learning when and how to speak up:

Communicating discomfort in situations to others seems so scary but once the words fall out, normal breath flow comes back into the body, the throat relaxes, the wall comes down, and I realize that I’m safe in speaking out. My anger and frustration no longer keep me company.

Learning to grow into my own voice continues to teach me about my reactions, triggers and how I relate to others.

Sometimes it’s best to be direct and honest with people. It saves a lot of time and energy spent on draining emotions and thoughts and allows the next steps to happen. Expressions of discontent may even create more bonding in our relationships.

Tensions with people and situations will continue to enter our lives. We may view these moments as opportunities to take all that reading, internal work, listening, meditation practice, and life tools acquired over the years and put it to use.

As for my dealings with the chocolate assailant, It turns out she was stressed about work and a guy. We talked about those things.

Along with keeping my disappointment and anger to myself, I have the tendency to want to over-heal and prevent outrageous reactions and pain from happening in others. With experience and my newfound safety in speaking up I’m now learning to make judgement calls about when to share my anger and when to let it go.

Sometimes it’s okay to allow others others their own emotional reactions and internal processing (even if they did eat all my dark chocolate).

I’m learning when to speak up and when to shut up and listen.

Sometimes it’s just about being a good friend. 

I never mentioned the chocolate and I survived the dark chocolate abduction to talk about it.

Although, I plan to say something the next time the chocolate disappears.


Relephant Read:

7 Truths About Forgiveness.


Author Name: Kathryn Lizzadro-McPherson

Apprentice Editor: Kelly Chesney/Editor: Travis May

Photo: Ally Aubry, Flickr

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