I am delighted to share one of my “Dear Kitty” columns that was previously published in “Ethical Non-Monogamy Magazine” (ENM), which unfortunately, is no longer being published. We are honored to have permission from ENM to keep the love going by sharing from our archives.
With all my heart, I absolutely love our cherished Loving Without Boundaries community. For the greater good of all of you living your most authentic lives with joy and bliss (with the least amount of suffering as possible), we are thrilled to share this response to the reader’s question as a gift to you.
I often get uncomfortable speaking out in a group setting, for example, regarding another member’s behavior in a sacred sexual place. It took a lot of courage recently for me to do so, speaking my truth, when everyone else seemed totally fine with the status quo. I feel I have a lot of trauma and healing in my past that needs to get shorn up, so I know this healing journey is a long one for me. Thus, though a part of me was proud that I spoke up, another part of me had the story that “My voice doesn’t count, I’m alone in this. I’ve disappointed others by speaking up, and I should just stay silent.” When I look at the facts of what actually happened – that my request was noted and action was taken – my logical mind gets it. But my monkey brain keeps going back to the same “Stay silent, it’s easier, and is what people want” story. What can I do to shut this down?
Wow, I really want to stop a moment and 100% HONOR the bravery and courage that it took for you to speak up. I know that many good folks reading this can relate to that often paralyzing fear of being the only person raising concerns. There is the fear of rocking the boat, of ridicule, of being excluded for offering a different – and sometimes seen as negative – opinion. I can appreciate those rational fears.
That’s exactly why it’s so beautiful and powerful that you DID speak up! By taking that courageous step, you are building strength, grit, and resilience today, planting seeds for whatever is to come tomorrow in your life. By vulnerably sharing your truth, your opinion and your thoughts, you are giving others permission to do the same. From what you described, it sounds to me like you may also be having what Brené Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover”, coupled with rubber-banding back to old habits and disempowering beliefs – in this case, a “My voice doesn’t count; just be a good girl and stay silent” story. Yet you even NOTICING this repetitive, disempowering story – and having the desire to change it – is a powerful and super important first step. Way to go! That is a huge celebration!
Please hold in your heart that you are greater and stronger than often you think you are. What I want to underscore for you is the power of Self-Responsibility (or Extreme Ownership) as well as Empathy (for yourself and others). You are empowered in every moment to notice when the “lower version of yourself” has control of the steering wheel (seducing you to go back to old familiar habits that no longer serve you today, such as entertaining disempowering beliefs). And you are equally empowered to call forth your Superhero – honoring your own courage, your own truth, and your ability to practice and hold dear, empowering beliefs that DO serve you.
What happened in the past is often irrelevant —> it is the seeds you are planting today leading into tomorrow that will rock your world in a positive way. This brave act you describe is developing your emotional intelligence muscles. It could also be an entry in what I call a “Courage Journal”. I invite you to write down all of the instances where you showed courage, bravery, and acted despite fear. In our society, we so often do not focus enough on what we are doing well (versus focusing on everything that we deem to be wrong, or what “should” be happening). What if this situation is exactly what you needed to learn / practice shining your bright light out into the world? To have your vote counted?
One thing I know for sure: Your voice matters… Your vote counts… Your feelings are valid.
Secondly, it is so incredibly important to understand, honor, and lovingly defend your personal boundaries (what is ok with you, and what is not ok, stating that compassionately to others). Remember that again from that self-responsibility lens, it is no one else’s job to look after your emotional and mental well-being. We can offer support, nurturing care, and encouragement to each other on each of our respective journeys. Yet at the end of the day, we can inadvertently put ourselves on the Drama (Victim) Triangle (leaning back and contracting into victim energy) when we make ourselves responsible for another person’s feelings or well-being.
You mentioned you had concerns about disappointing others by sharing your truth and your opinion. Feeling disappointed is often created by having expectations about how others “should” behave. Having unreasonable expectations can breed resentment in relationships. Being KIND by saying what needs to be said (versus being “nice” saying/doing what we think others want and “people-pleasing”) often helps to empower our loved ones to stand on their own two feet as well as be held accountable. It is also how we move towards healthy relationships and behavior (and away from toxic behavior).
Each of our healing journeys will go at their own pace, and that’s totally ok. The most important aspect is that you are progressing!
I am so so proud of you, your courage to be in this brave ENM community working towards personal growth, and sharing so beautifully. If you want to dive deeper into learning more about the Drama (Victim) Triangle and its antidote, the Observer Triangle, I invite you to check out an excellent book on the topic, “Guiding Principles for Life Beyond Victim Consciousness” by Lynne Forrest.
Some introspection questions (or the Original Poster, as well as readers of this post):
So what about you? When have you been tempted to make yourself small so that others could be more comfortable? When did you speak up and have a positive outcome? How do you know that your voice matters? That your opinion counts?
I applaud you for living life on your terms, doing the inner work, being courageous each day, even when it is not easy. You got this! Keep going!
No matter what, know that you are not alone! I invite you to join our thriving Loving Without Boundaries online Facebook Community of other like-minded courageous humans, seeking to live authentically and upgrade their mindset and skillset!
Until next time, cherished community …
With love and gratitude,
Kitty Chambliss, Master Coach (ICF-Certified), CPC
Founder, Loving Without Boundaries
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