Today I listened to an interview with Brene Brown and got smacked between the eyes by something she said.
(if you haven’t heard of her, look up her TED talk. Amazing!).
'Opting out of speaking out because we may get criticised to me is the definition of privilege.’ - Brene Brown.
Well holy guacamole!!
It hit me because I KNOW there are things I don’t talk about because I’m worried I’ll be criticised and I bet there are things for YOU too.
I’m not talking about just running your mouth for the hell of it. There is certainly a time to hold your tongue and recognise some things are not worth starting a war over.
But, I mean, what if there’s an issue that really matters to you but if you voice an opinion about it you know you might lose friends?
What if that take on things makes you unpopular?
What if people don’t like you?... *gasp*
So here’s the thing..
You WILL lose friends!!,
You WILL be unpopular!!,
They WON'T like you!!
… If you have anything to say that’s even remotely worth being passionate about.
Because some people are just not willing to face those things in life.
The tricky things.
The grey areas.
The uncomfortable things that trigger them because of what they are working through in themselves.
Fact is, there are always people on the other side of what you are committed to.
People who don’t agree and who it’s hard to see eye to eye with.
So often we hold our tongues because it’s hard to perfectly articulate what you’re really trying to say.
We know we won’t always get it right so as Brene also said ‘we let our imperfections move us away from the conversations that we need to have’.
I see this all the time with parenting debates online. With race and politics. Opinions and harmful speech spewing out of people about all kinds of things.
It’s surprising how often it happens in real life too and we laugh it off.
People make a racist joke or tell a crude disrespectful story about someone and we say nothing.
We laugh halfheartedly and then just let it slide.
Yes it’s tricky to come into a conversation with a different opinion and be shot down by hurtful replies.
No one wants to put themselves out there like that.
It’s particularly hard to say something when you’re not behind a screen and it’s your co-worker or family member you’re talking to.
But we HAVE to if it’s something that MATTERS.
Sometimes, it’s just not ok to walk away from an issue or scroll past it.
We have to speak if it’s an issue that needs highlighting.
Because silence says something too.
We need the conversations.
We’re not going to get anywhere without some positive discourse.
Some full colour discussions on all the angles of an issue.
The challenge for all of us is to have those discussions in the light of LOVE.
With humility and curiosity.
To genuinely be open to hearing another opinion.
Leaving shame, name calling and mean spirited behaviour out of the equation.
We won’t get it perfect but imagine if we got it just a bit better than how it’s done right now.
Imagine if we were really conversing together how different our world would be.