22 posts categorized "SPEAKING"

April 01, 2014

Stop the Silencing: Own Your Place in this World

IStock_000008250965_ExtraSmallAs I’m launching my next tele-class, Finding Your Voice, I’ve been reminded of all the ways women end up silencing themselves, playing small in their lives and even losing themselves in relationships. What’s interesting about the dynamic of losing your voice is that it’s often a subtle process.

Initially, many women do speak up for what they want. They ask their husbands to talk more, they try to set limits with people who don’t treat them well and they often ask for support around their dreams. The trouble begins to happen though, when they are met with a “no.”  If this “no” is said with intensity or judgment, women’s loss of voice speeds up even faster.

When women speak up about what they want and are met with anger (“What the hell do you want from me?!”), dismissiveness (“That’s ridiculous. You’re too sensitive!”) or called out as being selfish/mean/a “bitch,” the women tend to shut down. In fact, some women will even go on to revoke their request. Some women, in an effort to calm the other person down, will even go so far as to agree with the person by saying that, yes, they are too sensitive or the upset is their own fault. It’s a crazy phenomenon we do to avoid upsetting others.

Women are taught to be nice. They want to be liked whenever possible and they’d prefer not to have people upset with them for any reason. Although, it’s not all women, there is a strong societal pressure for most women to be pulled into this type of thinking. Not surprisingly, this pulls many women into the habit of putting the needs and happiness of others above their own. Subsequently, women learn to ask for little, disagree little and say little. If they’re in a meeting at work and they disagree with what colleagues say, many will nod their head in agreement while internally shaking their head in disagreement. If their partner at home is speaking harshly, they excuse the harshness due to a hard day, stress at work or any of a number of excuses. When this partner yells at the children, too many women go to the children to explain why dad was upset and implore them to not take his anger personally. They do this rather than holding their husbands accountable to speak more softly to their offspring.

Time and time again women silence their voices and, in so doing, they gradually lose themselves. They learn to laugh a little softer, ask for a little less, share opinions only when they’re similar to those around them and accept more than they ever thought they would…all under the guise of being relational.

It’s not relational to silence your voice. It’s not “nice” to lie to a loved one because you don’t want to upset them with the truth. It’s not compassionate to a child to rationalize the anger of their parent. And it’s not helpful to anyone to put the need to be liked above the need to be treated well.

Find your voice. Ask for what you want to ask for. Say what you truly think. Share your honest opinions, ideas and dreams. Speak up to injustices—toward you and toward others. Own your place in this world.   

Challenge: For one week, pay attention to all the things you don’t say and why. After you become more conscious of how you silence, during week two, begin to speak up beginning in the areas with the lowest risk.

Note: If you struggle with Finding Your Voice, read more about my tele-class here and sign up to work this skill. http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straighttalk/finding-your-voice.html

September 18, 2012

Speak Your Truth or You Will Lose Yourself.

IStock_0maskwithwomanllToo many women wake up and say, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”  Losing yourself is a slow process that occurs one unspoken word or false action at a time.  Eventually they add up, until one day you realize you’ve lost yourself.

When you silence your voice or act in ways that are not true to yourself, you end up shutting down the core of who you are.  I see this done every day by all kinds of women—even top executives who run multi-million dollar companies.  Women like to be liked.  We want others to think highly of us.  We are willing to keep quiet if it means our friend or loved one isn’t hurt or upset with us.  We’re willing to give in and do something that goes against our beliefs or instincts if it means the relationship will stay intact or the other person will still want to be around us.  In a thousand little ways we’re willing to compromise—even if the “compromise” is really doing or saying what only the other person wants us to do or say.

Continue reading "Speak Your Truth or You Will Lose Yourself. " »

June 20, 2012

Tired Of Feeling Like Others Aren’t Listening? 5 Tips To Being Heard

IStock_0couplearguingllThere are few things more frustrating in relationships than not being heard.  I’m not talking about having others literally hear your words and regurgitate what you said; I’m talking about really hearing you.  For women, in particular, being heard is one of the most important things they want in their relationships.  Women want to feel as though the people in their lives get them—even if they disagree with them.

Because this issue is so paramount for women, they can often almost desperately go after the often-elusive quest to be heard with a vengeance.  When this happens, women end up repeating their message again and again and again (I.e. You never listen to me. You’re still not listening to me. You don’t listen.)  They can repeatedly bring up past issues any time a new pain surfaces that shows any resemblance to a past pain they don’t feel was heard or resolved (I.e. “You never show me any kind of affection. Even on our wedding day you couldn’t hold my hand for more than a minute. Today, I tell you I’m sad and need a hug and you rigidly stand there and do nothing”). Some women will resort to crying repeatedly and almost begging the person to hear them.  Whatever the mode of choice, the results are almost always the same—the other person just doesn’t get it.

In order to reverse this incredibly frustrating dynamic, women have to change their moves.  The onus is on the women to change simply because they’re the ones in the most pain AND they’re the only ones they have control of.  They cannot control whether others listen; they can control, however, how they speak. Below are 5 tips to increasing your chance of being heard:

Continue reading "Tired Of Feeling Like Others Aren’t Listening? 5 Tips To Being Heard" »

April 20, 2012

Is Avoiding Conflict Really Helping You? The Cost Of Ducking

IStock_00silencemallMany people struggle with conflict.  Some bully their way through conflict, while others duck to avoid conflict at all cost.  Although there have been tons of information about the pitfalls of bullying and rage on relationships, often people forget about the pitfalls of ducking from hard issues.  They frequently believe that because ducking avoids a fight, it’s a healthy choice to make in response to conflict.  They couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Contrary to popular belief, ducking is anything but a good response to conflict in relationships.  Ducking can take on many different forms and is an equal opportunity response to conflict -- both men and women duck.  People can duck by getting silent and refusing to speak about an issue.  They can duck by becoming passive-aggressive and indirectly complaining without ever directly addressing the issue.  They can change the subject, shut the conversation down, placate, over-accommodate or pretend they’re okay with an issue only to later complain about it under their breath.  They can lie and say everything is fine, smile instead of frown and pretend rather than be real.  The truth is, there are probably countless ways to duck when it comes to conflict.  Not surprisingly, however, regardless of which approach we use, ducking is not helpful


Continue reading "Is Avoiding Conflict Really Helping You? The Cost Of Ducking" »

April 09, 2012

The Ties That Bind Us

IStock_00fakesmilemallIn my work with women throughout the years, I’ve found many beliefs that keep women down.  Some of these beliefs have come from our up-bringing, some have come from our culture and some have come from our own internal processes.  Until women begin to look at these beliefs and truly challenge them, we will likely continue to struggle in far too many relationships in our lives.

Below are the five most common beliefs that I believe wreak havoc in the lives of women today:
1.    Women need to be nice.  From birth, women are constantly told to be “nice.”  We’re told to not hurt anyone’s feelings, put a smile on, make people comfortable, etc.  The problem with this message is that “nice” ends up meaning to sacrifice one’s self for the greater good of everyone else.  Sacrificing ourselves so others feel okay is a crazy notion that is hurting women and our culture at large.  Until women learn to stand up for ourselves, we are destined to pay a heavy price.
2.    Women need a man to feel worthy/okay/complete.  From a young age, the pressure on females to have a boyfriend and, later, a husband is enormous.  For some reason, our world leads us to believe that the attention of males in some way legitimizes the worthiness of females.  This is crazy and dangerous thinking that sets young girls and women up to be abused and taken advantage of in relationships.  Until females are taught to believe in themselves in their own right, we will continue to have far too many crimes against women.  A man does not complete a woman.  She was already complete long before the man came along.  A man (if he’s a good man) simply adds to her life and vice-a-versa.

Continue reading "The Ties That Bind Us" »

March 14, 2012

Reasons It’s Vital To Speak Up In Relationships

IStock_00silencemallToo often, too many people stay silent in response to mistreatment or upset.  Regardless of whether the other person is your partner, spouse or friend, speaking up about issues that are bothering you is vital to healthy relationships. 

Below are five reasons why speaking up is so important:

1.    Silence often leads to resentment. When we stay silent about things that bother us, those upsets often turn into resentments.  The more we stifle our upsets, the more resentful we get about the person’s poor treatment of us.  As a result, our anger and upset will often come out sideways (passive-aggressive) or through angry outbursts and blow-ups.
2.    Resentment rots out relationships. Countless unspoken upsets lead to a natural buildup of a wall of resentments.  Eventually too many resentments erode relationships.
3.    Solution is impossible without conversation. If you stay silent about an issue, it makes it impossible to resolve that issue or your negative feelings about it.  You cannot blame other people for not changing their behavior if you haven’t spoken about it to them.

Continue reading "Reasons It’s Vital To Speak Up In Relationships" »

November 29, 2011

When It Comes To Speaking, Less Is Often More

IStock_0self talkllI often watch couples in my office struggle with the ripple effect caused by using a “wall of words.”  A wall of words is when a person speaks on and on about an issue, complaint, story, idea or piece of information to such a degree that they lose the attention of the person they are speaking with.  Women, in particular, struggle with using a wall of words.  As a result, the men in their lives end up tuning the women out.

Using a wall of words is not the same as discussing an issue, sharing feelings or having interesting conversations.  All of these actions are healthy forms of communication.  When women use a wall of words it can sound like nervous chatter, restating of the information again and again, random thoughts, belaboring a point and overall excessive talk.  Often the women are aware of this pattern, however have a difficult time controlling it.  If they are not aware of this habit, they often are aware of their partners tuning them out or not listening.

Continue reading "When It Comes To Speaking, Less Is Often More" »

May 12, 2011

Women - It’s Time to Step Up and Stop Accepting Toxic Relationships

Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

IStock_00couple alcohol I hear story after tragic story of women in relationships with men who ignore them, cheat  on them, yell at them, belittle them and even hit them.  Again and again these women excuse the men’s behaviors because he’s stressed or sick or had a tough upbringing or got laid off or was hurt by something she said, or he hates women because of his mother or…  Ugh.  STOP THE EXCUSES---PLEASE!!!!  There is NO excuse for poor treatment.  Period.

The woman responds to poor treatment by trying to get the man to see how hurtful he’s being.  She begs, pleads and demands that he treat her better.  She hopes, dreams and wishes that he’d treat her better.  She silences, accommodates, placates and enables, in the hopes that he’ll see the error of his ways and change.  She continues to use one, two or all of these approaches again and again and again, hoping that some day, they will magically work.  They never magically work.  She continues endlessly to try to change him. 

Women stay in these relationships, allowing their spirits to get chipped away on a daily basis.  These are not relationships with minor bumps in the road.  These are not average relationships with occasional struggles.  These women stay in relationships that are emotionally toxic.  Relationships where their thoughts and feelings are constantly minimized, dismissed and treated as silly, insignificant, stupid.  These relationships are toxic to women, families and our world.

Women will forever be in these types of relationships if they don’t stop trying to change this kind of treatment.  As long as women continue to plead, demand, cry, etc. in the hope of changing him, they will be stuck in the same miserable relationships their entire lives.

Stop it and step up. 

The only way to change these relationships is to take your eyes off him and get them on you.  Pay attention to the thousands of ways you teach him that the ways he treats you are okay.  Get conscious of all the mixed messages, watered down messages and empty threats you send.  Pay attention to YOU.  The way you change your relationships is by changing how YOU are in them. 

The way you change verbal abuse is by not taking verbal abuse.  The way you stop physical violence is by not taking physical violence.  The way you stop his belittling, affairs, selfishness…is by not taking it.  You must be willing to put your relationship on the line.  Often the only way to save a relationship is to be willing to lose it.  Are you willing to walk away from toxic treatment if it does not stop?  Until you are…it will not stop.

Too many women are desperate to keep their man or their family together, yet not desperate enough to make sure it’s a healthy relationship.  Keeping a toxic family together is toxic.  It is not helpful for children, men or women.  If women want to have an intact family, than they need to fight to make that family a healthy one.  Children live what they know and they know what they live.  Make sure what they’re living is what you want them to repeat.  Trust me, they will repeat it.

Challenge: If you’re in a toxic relationship, stop looking at your partner and pay attention to all the ways you are allowing the toxicity to continue.  Do your own work to get stronger and more grounded.  If there’s addiction—get into Alanon or AA.  If there’s abuse—contact Women’s Protective Services.   If there’s disrespect, contempt, and coldness—get into couples therapy as well as individual therapy.  You and your family are worth the effort. 

May 05, 2011

Straight Talk: What is it and What Does it Sound Like?

IStock_0silencellI’m struck by how much people don’t say.  They hint, insinuate, tiptoe, sugar coat, say half-truths, silence, manipulate, annihilate, etc., yet few actually directly state (respectfully) what’s going on for them.

When I talk with clients about saying things directly, they almost immediately start to get anxious.  Many people don’t want to “be mean,” get into a fight or be perceived as hard to get along with.  In an effort to avoid these appearances, they become inauthentic or foggy at best.  When they’re not clear about what they’re trying to say, people don’t know what they’re saying.  And this lack of clarity leaves people guessing.  Then, when they guess wrong, we get annoyed, angry and frustrated.

Speaking honestly about something is mean only if we speak it in a mean way.  If we are clean in how we speak (respectful, calm, compassionate), then our truth is often a gift.  This is true in even the most difficult of conversations such as those in struggling marriages.  Saying it straight in a struggling marriage might sound like: “Honey, I’m worried about us.  I don’t feel loved, desired or even liked by you anymore.  I find myself not wanting to come home and cringing when you touch me.  I’m worried that if we don’t get help -- and fast -- that we won’t make it.  I’m worried that I’m going to turn to someone else for the affection I want from you and I don’t want to be one of those women who has affairs to escape the loneliness of her marriage.  I need us to get into therapy.  I need things to change or we won’t make it.” 

Many people will read the above and be shocked by how direct it is.  They will think they could never say that because they wouldn’t want to hurt someone with those words.

Continue reading "Straight Talk: What is it and What Does it Sound Like?" »

March 17, 2011

How Do I Intervene On Other People’s Behaviors? Part I

 In response to my last post “It’s None Of My Business—Or Is It,” How Do I Intervene in Other People’s Behaviors? Part I many people have asked for examples of how to intervene in the various scenarios I wrote about, as well as in other similar scenarios.  Below is Part I of possible responses to use when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

In any given situation, there are several possible levels – ranging from low to high -- of intervention.  Often the level you choose is determined by your relationship with the person in question, your goal and the level of risk you’re willing to take.  Be aware of these factors when choosing your move.

Let’s look at the examples I wrote about in the first post:
•    You catch your best friend’s husband kissing another woman.  Your goal is to protect your friend and not have an affair go on behind her back.  What could you do?  In this scenario, your allegiance is to your best friend and you feel you should have your best friend’s back.  There are several options you could choose from, including:
    ♣    Speaking to the husband directly and telling him what you saw.  Tell him that you’ll be taking some time to think about what you want to do about this information and you will get back to him as soon as you decide. (Low risk)
    ♣    Tell the husband what you saw and be clear that, either he must tell his wife or you will.  Tell him you will give him two weeks to have the conversation. (Higher risk)
    ♣    Speak to your friend directly and let her know what you saw.  (High risk)
    ♣    Call your friend right then and tell her what you’re seeing. (High risk)
    NOTE: Saying nothing should not be an option since it puts your friendship at risk and is not supporting     your friend. 

Continue reading "How Do I Intervene On Other People’s Behaviors? Part I" »

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