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Do you speak up when you get the inner nudge to say something? Or do you silence yourself, in order to keep the peace?

Sometimes silence is the answer. At other points, we need to speak up and say what’s on our minds. The key, as with anything in life, is to weigh the positives and negatives, and find your own balance.

If you are anything like me, you can often complicate the process by imagining all sorts of outcomes, and conjuring up all sorts of fears before you say word one. You can have the entire conversation in your head before you even say, “hello, can we talk?”

What stops us from freely communicating and clearing the air? Fear. Fear of offending someone. Fear of abandonment. Fear that once we start expressing ourselves, we might ramble on for days. Fear that we will be challenged or rejected for our opinions.

Truth is, when we take the risk and voice a concern it frees us from the worry and fretting that keeps us up at night. Once a concern is out there in the open, it can be dealt with proactively. Using your words and your voice to improve a situation can never go wrong. “Keeping the peace” by not honoring ourselves can ironically create the opposite of peace.

Something I find very powerful in choosing to use my voice is the simple thought that “I matter.” I matter – but not to the exclusion of the other person or people involved. I am an equal, who can choose to voice my opinions tactfully and gracefully. To do anything less in any relationship is a definite compromise of my values.

I also have to remember that not everyone wants to communicate at the level that I find comfortable for myself. So in that sense, I can choose to adjust and meet people half way. The beauty is, I can still honor myself in any dynamic when I consider the other person’s views and act accordingly.

How can you honor yourself and say “I matter” in your interactions with others? It can be done gently while maintaining peace in all your relationships.