Communicating with others about our needs, wants, and expectations can sometimes be a daunting task. For many, it can be uncomfortable and, at times, even downright scary. I have rarely met anyone who finds it extremely easy to communicate openly about these things. In fact, it is more common for people to avoid, deflect, and even minimize their true expectations, wants, and needs.
Stop and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel safe and comfortable to share my thoughts and feelings?
- If yes, what’s it like to do so?
- If not, what’s holding you back?
Open communication can often be negatively influenced by fear and a lack of self-esteem. Some might fear being hurt, misunderstood, or disappointed. Others might fear judgment from others for expressing certain thoughts and feelings. Still others may feel unworthy to express themselves and lack the confidence to do so.
Processing the influences that hold so much power and control over expressing thoughts and feelings can be quite beneficial in making positive change. Once you’ve identified what’s holding you back, speak Truth to those negative influences. Psalm 27:1 reminds us that “the Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?” We are dearly loved children of God (cf. 1 John 3:1), and reminding yourself of these things helps can help you to resist fear of judgment, build a healthy self-esteem, and gain the confidence to find your voice again. Regardless of how or when communication decreased or became an internal battle within, searching and discovering your identity in the Lord will lead to saying what is on your heart.
2 Corinthians 1:3 encourages us that God is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” Psalm 116:1-2 states, “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” Both scriptures can remind us that even in challenging times when healthy communication seems impossible, the Lord is always with us. He will hear our hearts and bless us with peace, comfort, and love.
The key is to practice healthy expression of emotion, even in the midst of uncertainty. Being able to do so can be freeing and powerful, not only for you yourself, but also for others around you. The next time you find yourself at war over deciding to express what is on your mind and in your heart, challenge yourself to work through and speak Truth to the initial anxieties to ultimately find that freedom – the freedom in finding your voice.