Speak Up: You Matter, Your Opinions Matter

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Do you speak up when you don’t like or agree with something? Or maybe you have a different opinion but want to fit in, so you stay quiet?

Communication is key. How many times have we heard this? The bigger question is, how many of us have not been able to actually act on it? How many of us have stayed quiet when someone says something that irritates us so much it just replays in our mind for months… years? How many times have you gone over it in your head time and time again and thought, “I should have said…”

Can you think of a time when you should have spoken up but didn’t? It might have been during a disagreement with a family member or friend, an argument with your significant other, or maybe a time you were at odds with your co-worker but didn’t want to cause office tension. For many of us, it’s not easy to speak up. 

Image: A microphone on a stand (Speak Up: You Matter, Your Opinions Matter Rachelle Haime Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I was never the best at speaking up when something upset me. I was more of the “keep quiet and wait until I can’t take anymore and just explode years later” type.

I wouldn’t speak up because I didn’t want to upset anyone or hurt their feelings. What if I disappointed them? What if what I said made them love me less? Now I realize I can speak up, and as Dr. Seuss says, “…People who matter won’t mind.”

To this day, I sometimes hold back the truth. I swallow my feelings and move on… or so I think. It always catches up with me. I shut down emotionally, blow up at whoever just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, or if it gets bad enough, get physically sick.

Image: A woman sitting down with her head in her hands (Speak Up: You Matter, Your Opinions Matter Rachelle Haime Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

So what keeps me quiet? I don’t want to lash out and say things I don’t mean. I want to think before I speak.

Which works wonders, but I have to actually speak after thinking.

Instead, I found a lot of times I would just end up thinking, “It’s fine, it’s not a big deal. I don’t want to bring it up again.” All that does is keep it simmering right below the surface, waiting to come out in a counterproductive way to whatever point I was trying to get across.

Speaking up is vital for our mental health.

It helps relieve so much mental pressure. The more you swallow, the worse you start to feel. Slowly but surely, it will begin to eat away at the positivity, and it will fill you with negativity. Eventually, you will probably explode, and that won’t be good for you or anyone around you.

Every time you swallow something negative, your full cup has to spill some positivity out to make space for the negative. If you do it enough, what do you think that will feel like? I try to remember this when I weigh the pros and cons of speaking up about something.

Will it leave my cup full of negative-tea? 

The times I do speak up I literally feel the difference. I don’t feel the pit in my stomach, or the strain in my throat. I release the tension I hold in my body from holding back, and I feel so much more at ease.

Here’s a tip I learned that has helped me so much in the last year.

One night during one of our Miami Mom Collective Zoom interviews Ashley Rodrigues, a former contributor who has since moved to Colorado, shared a wonderful tip. When you feel you need time to think, give yourself time, but make an appointment. It’s ok to say something like, “I need time to gather my thoughts and calm down, but tomorrow at 10 am, let’s talk about it.” 

That tip changed how I do things. It gives me time to process and holds me accountable—no lashing out and swallowing how I feel. 

I can’t say I am doing this 100% of the time, but I am trying to do it more and more because it works wonders for everyone involved when I do. 

So why do we as adults complicate things so much? I get it; we understand that something we say could hurt someone. 

We want to fit in. 

We don’t want to make waves. 

It isn’t worth the argument. 

We come up with a million excuses to stay quiet.

What if there is no argument, though? No waves? What if there is a conversation?

What if everyone states their position and then moves on together or apart but moves on with one less thing weighing them down in life?

We have to speak up for ourselves because nobody else is going to do it for us. Also, what we have to say might not only help us but might help others too. 

Image: Two people sitting and talking together (Speak Up: You Matter, Your Opinions Matter Rachelle Haime Contributor Miami Mom Collective)
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano on Pexels

I wanted to share this reminder in case anyone needed it. Our opinions, feelings, wants, and needs matter just as much as anyone else’s, and they should be heard. We do have the ability to speak up, it might be deep down or closer to the surface, but it’s there. 

I hope you never forget that you matter. Your opinions, your feelings, your wants, and your needs matter!

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