Say what you need to say

Monday, March 10, 2008 |

Ok to introduce the theme.....and in honor of yesterday
a little John Mayer for everyone's enjoyment. A selection from his song "Say"

Walkin like a one man army
Fightin with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead
If you could only say what you need to say
Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You better know that in the end its better to say too much
Than to never to say what you need to say again
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open
Say what you need to say

Why is it sooo hard, annoyingly talkative as I am, to say what needs to be said sometimes?
I am somewhat famous among my high school friends as a crusader for justice. I had no fear of calling people out(teachers especially) for treating my fellow students badly back then. 99.99% of people involved in my education thought I was a little angel on earth. And the one or two teachers who tried to exploit their students and belittle them and manipulate them....thought I was a demon from hell I am sure. You can tell what type of people they were by the fact that their greatest complaint against me was "I don't see why you've got a problem if it wasn't you I was punishing".
I have a little bit of female white-knight syndrome I think. I am also a kick-butt logical thinker which is why my friends loved it when I defended them because the teachers were always completely skewered with their own reasoning. I would try to be humble here about it, but my killer cross-exam is a reality of life(not necessarily a gift at times) and partially the reason I decided NOT to go into law. I start getting hypercritical and skewering people all the time when it was Mock Trial season in college. Then I totally mellowed out as time passed and I served a mission and I didn't want to re-awaken the sleeping beast. But I digress.

My point is....I find it very easy to say some things. Sticking up for myself and others is not a problem. Saying NO is also not a huge problem for me. I say yes to too many things cause I want to do them all. I am not easily guilted into a yes.

But let's move to another realm of speaking up. Bringing up things your friends have done to hurt/use/manipulate you. If I don't bring it up right as it happens(which I do try to do)I might as well be a mute. Seriously. Not that I won't bring things up that need to be said. But DANG do I delay it. And re-analyze like fifty million times whether it is best just forgiven and forgotten without confrontation.

Maybe I have blinders about my own culpability, but any time someone has the guts to tell me I do something that they don't like or that irritates them, I am a pretty easy going person about changing. If my roomates don't like where I keep something, I move it. If a friend tells me I have offended them or hurt them, I am all over apologizing and changing it. Sometimes what people tells me hurts or I have a hard time changing but their input never goes ignored.

I have been told this(accepting input and changing easily) is one of my gifts in life so maybe this is why I find this subject so difficult to understand. Somehow the people who do things that annoy/offend me seem to not have this same ability. Pretty much every time I bring up something that I have got to get off my chest, the recipient has gone on in the exact same way, or decided to tell me I am thinking/feeling wrong about the issue. If they do nothing, the situation keeps repeating itself and then I don't want a drag out fight and I start keeping it all in. BAD. Or in situation two they get to meet Erica's lawyer side up close and personal and regret they were born. BAD.

So basically after years of this experience I now really hate bringing up things that are getting to me. Cause nothing will change or a slam-down will ensue. Is either result really good?

I mean the slam down generally gets my point across and I am able to go on with my friends in a productive way after the tears etc are over but GEEZ!! I HATE drama. The slam downs I can count on like one hand for my whole lifetime. The number of times my friends have ignored what I said- sin cuenta baby.

And what about the REALLY scary stuff? Saying I love you without knowing if someone loves you back? Apologizing for something someone doesn't know that you said about them? Apologizing for big stuff in general. Breaking up. YIKES.

I had a BAD tendency to do that stuff by letter/email when I was younger. Now that I'm more mature I try to have the guts to say in person what I need to say. No regrets.

But once again a little bit of procrastination seems to be in order. And over-analysis.

Isn't it funny how leaving things unsaid can feel like a sin you need to repent of?

Words can be a burden and it seems almost that the shorter phrases can be the heavier ones.

John Mayer has totally got it right.


Alison said...

There is a lot to be said for saying what you need to say. I had to say some things to a family member last Spring that I had been terrified to tell them, because I had to prepare myself for the wrath that I was sure would follow. But it turned out to be the best thing I ever did. I had the best outcome I could've hoped for, and now our relationship is a zillion times better. I was able to move on and lose the 3,000 pounds I gained in a year and a half as a result of physical problems, but also because of how I was handling some things I had burried for ten years. It's weird how your unfinished business can effect your life so drastically in physical and emotional ways. I now say what I feel like I HAVE to in the way it needs to be said, depending on the person. I have no regrets.

WhiteEyebrows said...

Sometimes in church I sit there and think to myself, "they sure are talking a lot without really saying much." I get really frustrated with people talk and talk and who never say anything. Attention world... unless you know how to clearly and succinctly express your thoughts, you have no business speaking or giving a lesson from an outline...

Sometimes the best communication skill is knowing when to stop talking.

Erica said...

Sam, are you telling me to shut up?

Just kidding!

I got your back about the meaningless drivel at church. I have a friend that thinks because she had to give lessons off the cuff and they seemed to go well on her mission that now she NEVER needs to prepare for anything again. The gift of teaching spontaneously is only given when you CAN'T prepare for the lesson. Not when you are off your mish and choose not to becuase you're a scrub. It was totally painful to hear her last talk and every single time she walks away having said nothing that was cohesive and having awkward silences, umms, no references or quotes, and then brags because she just looked over a conference talk for 5 minutes before giving the talk. SCORE! HIGH FIVE! What a talent!! You managed to bore and confuse everyone for fifteen minutes with only 5 minutes prep!

Rhia Jean said...

First, that is my ultimate favorite OCD song right now. I'm so addicted I don't even know what to do with myself.

Second, when we don't say what we need to say, it feels like we need to repent because we do. As members, we have a responsibility to open our mouths about the gospel, to defend what it is right, and also to say what needs to be said. It's a burden to carry around bottled up feelings that lead to real sins, like not forgiving or contention or jealousy. Okay, I'll get off my high horse.

Seriously though, right up there with overtalkers are pausers. Good night nurse! Just spit it out already!

Alison said...

Ohhhhhh, all this information is just too good. I now know what to do to drive you all nuts next time I give a talk . . . or a RS lesson (*wicked cackle*):

1. Ramble on about nothing
2. Don't prepare
3. Pause . . . . . . . . a lot.


WhiteEyebrows said...

Here's the deal... (I'm just never done with this topic)... I think ia lot of time, people actually forget that people are listening. To every word. Even to the ands ors buts... and the Uhhhs... and the out of control plosive 'p's they just can't moderate for that poor little spat on microphone.

And it goes in business too. All my asian friends who do that back of the throat, "ahhhhggghhhgghgh" between every single thought... GRRRR... I'm going to smack you.

Anywho... I'm not saying I'm a perfect public speaker or anything. I know I "ummmm" a lot. But at least it's when I'm truly lost in my own brilliance. :)

OK. I'm done now.

Molly said...

I appreciate John Mayer for labeling HIMSELF a douchebag. He went way up in my book. Love that.