I’ve been feeling pushed to write but no suitable subject has come to mind. Finally it got too uncomfortable not to write so I decided to sit in front of a blank page a few days ago. Bingo! I got it within less than a second. How many times have you felt that you have nothing to contribute and therefore have kept quiet?
When I was a young adult I carried over the shyness that I felt as a child. Often I would come upon a situation about which I had a funny or off beat thought. This would happen at large social gatherings, during which I rarely spoke, and even in one on one situations. I assumed that no one would find my observations funny. It’s not that I thought I was stupid but certainly others were far more savvy and intelligent. My little comment would serve only to embarrass me and show them all how unsophisticated I was.
I am still very uncomfortable in large groups especially when I know only a few in attendance. But I am forever grateful to a young woman who was just an acquaintance when we were both at one of those dreaded large parties. I noticed her looking over at me several times throughout the evening. Late that night she came up to me and said, “When you sit by yourself and don’t speak people will think you are a snob.” What??!! That was the direct opposite of how I viewed myself. How could I be putting out such an impression just by not talking?
I know that this may have been an opinion held only by her but I think she was probably right. My behavior did not change immediately but her remark started me thinking that perhaps I was sending silent messages that were completely wrong and perhaps disrespectful.
Eventually I started leaking a few comments in what I felt were safe situations. Maybe I just grew into myself. I don’t know the how of it but, once I started saying what I was thinking, I discovered that most people thought I was funny. All those quips and comments I’d kept to myself for so many years were actually okay to say out loud!
Of course, some of my comments fall flat but now I see that it doesn’t matter. Most of the time I get at least a smile and I trust that people realize that I’m not looking down on them by not talking at all. Being funny opened a door for me and now I converse much more easily in social situations. I’ve learned that what I have to say matters and that I don’t need to be funny all the time.
Have you ever held back because you thought you had nothing to contribute? What you have to say can only be said by you for there is only one you. Even if your ideas are similar to someone else’s your way of speaking about them will be different. You may be able to say something that a person has heard several times before but missed the meaning until you used your unique way of expressing it.
Kevin Hall puts it eloquently.
“You are an unrepeatable miracle. Your experiences and insights are truly unique. As you travel on your journey, recognize that the footprints you leave on your path are as unique as the path you are walking. Your clear and concise comments are invaluable to those who appear on your path, for ‘when we hold a lantern to light the pathway of our brother or sister, we see more clearly our own.’”