Don’t be afraid to speak up

Image: Don’t be afraid to speak up

Afraid to tell people what you really think? Try these three ideas to speak with confidence, grace, and honesty.

Hot button topics. They seem to be everywhere, don't they?

From stances on abortion and civil unions to issues such as racial reconciliation and women's rights, we don’t have to go far to hear someone's views.

At other times, we may need to express our opinions on less prominent (but equally important) issues…

  • A friend may ask you for your advice on making a college decision  
  • A co-worker might ask for input on his or her significant other
  • A family member may question you about a personal issue

So, how do we even begin to express our opinions on these issues and even trickier subjects?

How do we bring issues down to the core levels?
How do we state our thoughts with grace?
Should we even try to think more deeply about these issues?

When faced with hard topics of many kinds, here are three key things to keep in mind.

1.  Be gracious, but don’t be too timid

You have been given a unique brain. Your brain thinks in a unique way because of your experiences, knowledge, and more.

People need to hear these thoughts in your brain because they are not exactly like anyone else's.

Don't be afraid to use your brain to dig in to hard topics. If you disagree with someone else's opinion, be gentle, but don't sugar-coat it and waffle out of fear of stating your opinion. 

Use this: When choosing your words, try this rule of thumb: say what you mean and mean what you say (even if it's not what others are saying). 
Be this: Be firm in your convictions, but don’t forget to be a truth seeker who is willing to hear others and willing to change if different truth becomes apparent.
Remember this: World-changers (like Jesus!) weren't afraid to speak up as they fought against opposing opinions.

2.  Don’t be afraid of being different

Your thoughts on some issues may be a little different than what others are bringing up. Your thoughts may go places that people don't even know are there to explore.  Maybe being different means you are going to write a little longer, talk a little more, or ask different questions.  

Many times you just need to step out and point out things that other people don't even realize are there.

Use this: When choosing your words, think outside of the box.  Explore possibilities that others aren't even considering.
Be this: Be bold to say the words that are on your heart.
Remember this: It often takes just one person to get a new idea started that brings change.

3. Don’t be too distracted to engage

Twitter gives people just 280 characters, and sometimes, that feels like the length of people's attention spans.

Many things in life require more than a 280-character thought, and conversations are no exception. Don’t just check in and check out whenever you feel like it. Get involved. Amazing things can happen if we really use our brains and engage with the problems that are around us. 

Use this: When choosing your words, stop for even just a few seconds or minutes and engage with the concepts before you begin to speak.
Be this: Be sure you understand the words you’re speaking and are not just repeating ideas you've heard.
Remember this: Other people have often put thought into these issues; don't forget to be engaged in listening to their thoughts, really heed what they are saying, and analyze it.  Then, you can continue the conversation or even learn something new.

Here's to not being afraid to speak what's on our hearts... for the sake of others. 


 
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