Do you ever feel like you’ve been silenced? In one way and another, incidents have been piling up for me and in a flash of insight, I realized that I’ve been staying quiet when perhaps I should’ve been speaking up.
To right this, I put Katy Perry’s Roar on repeat and cranked the volume up while I was driving. Just letting the words wash over me, “You hear my voice, you hear that sound, like thunder gonna shake your ground” tightened my resolve to let the world (or at the very least, a few select people) hear me roar.
As women, this can be a tough sell in our culture. We often feel the pressure to be nice, to get along, to not rock the boat, to avoid being labelled as difficult or bitchy. Facing conflict head-on can cause many of us to panic and retreat.
I struggle to find a balance between speaking up when something affects me or my kids and choosing to stay quiet when it’s none of my business (even if I may have strong feelings on the subject). I long to be as kind as possible, like most women do, but to also demonstrate courage by going boldly into tense situations without backing down. This is not an easy line to walk.
After feeling pumped up by Katy Perry’s beautiful and strong anthem, I wanted to simply say whatever came to mind to several people. But this didn’t seem right either, as we need to practice discretion so we aren’t abusive or cruel in our self-expression.
I’m trying now to think in terms of Roaring Gently. I have every right to use my voice, as every person does, but in order to stay true to my values and integrity, I also desire to choose gentleness in my delivery. Both of these words together give me a better framework for this important process.
Practicing new skills is hard. We should expect setbacks. We’ll bite our tongue and wish later we had spoken up. Or the opposite will happen: we’ll be stirred up and pissed off, so we’ll push our filters aside and let the person have every one of our nasty, unvarnished thoughts. This might require some apologies in order to keep our relationships healthy, but we can offer ourselves grace and love as we work through these normal bumps in the path.
Feeling voiceless gives us a sense that we are not in control of our lives. We can slide into victimhood, lashing out in a passive aggressive manner instead of bravely asking for what we need. This is not a healthy long-term strategy. But neither is saying hurtful things in the heat of the moment that can never be unsaid. Roaring is critical to our health, but a gentle roar is preferable to an angry one.
Let’s roar gently together – women who aren’t afraid to step up and be heard, but who value kindness as much as we do honesty.