But I Have No Voice If I Don’t Speak My Mind

Ain’t that the truth. These are lyrics are from the song, “Cause I’m a Man” by Tame Impala. I find them quite fitting for the title of this post. Not only are these lyrics frequently floating around my head – they also push me into using opposite action – cause I often need a push!

"But I Have No Voice If I Don’t Speak My Mind”

So, I just finished all three seasons of Atypical (highly recommend, btw). It’s a heartwarming show, full of wonderful, relatable characters that go through all types of personal growth – with the ideal amount of outside support, of course. Very satisfying to watch. During the last episode of season 3 (spoiler alert), one of the characters is having a hard time choosing which life path to take. Their friend says, “I’ve spent most of my life doing whatever’s easy. And now I’m doing this EMT stuff and it’s really hard, but it’s good. And I feel like I’ve got a purpose, so, don’t do the easy thing. Do the hard stuff.

Dang. That is some profound sh*t right there. And so true.

While I wouldn’t say I’ve spent most of my life doing the easy stuff, I do often find it difficult to show up again and again for the hard stuff. It’s exhausting. It takes a lot of effort. And it feels tedious to keep up with. You just want to catch a break. But nobody can take over your life for you. You gotta keep showing up no matter what (oh hey there, radical acceptance). When I learned about opposite action earlier this year, I began using it to push myself. To keep showing up. To hold myself accountable. It’s really freaking hard. But also really rewarding, like that friend said.

It’s not easy for me to sit back and say nothing. Well, I mean it is – but it isn’t at the same time. I start to feel butterflies in my stomach, my face gets hots, my heart starts beating faster. It happened frequently in school when I knew the correct answer but froze. Raise my hand? Provide a response? Hell no! It’s what happens when I’m sitting in a meeting, and I have something to contribute but I stop myself. I tell myself, “Maybe someone else will say what I’m thinking. Maybe nobody wants to hear my contribution. Maybe I don’t need to say anything”.

When I say nothing, I feel powerless. I feel weak. I feel unfulfilled. Regretful, even. It feels like the path to nowhere. When I do end up speaking out loud, it’s because I’m using opposite action. I say to myself, “Come on Sam. Say the thing. I know you feel the urge to say nothing, and it might keep you comfortable in this moment, but you gotta say the thing. SAY THE THING!!” The struggle is real. It might take me 45 minutes of sitting there to do it. But the result though – that’s the best part. It leads me to feeling whole. Feeling like I contributed, like I am a part of something. And that feeling is waaay better than that powerless feeling. And I gotta hold on to that feeling. It’s what I use to remind myself when I feel the urge to do the “easy” thing. And so far, it’s been helping me. It has made me more willing to keep showing up.

I want to have a voice, and I want to keep speaking my mind. It’s up to me to make that choice over and over again. And I’m going to keep trying.

This blog post is brought to you by opposite action – as I wouldn’t have written it otherwise ☺

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