Since I started blogging, I have found it is easier to know my own thoughts, and to share my own thoughts, both in writing and in speaking. I am also finding this is not necessarily a good thing at all times.
I am getting so used to speaking my mind, voicing my thoughts, that I have turned off that filter that used to keep everything inside. This sounds good at first, but I need that filter when speaking to: employees I am training, my supervisor, other parents, and anyone else that does not know me as well as hubby and WordPress.
I apologized – again – to my supervisor for overspeaking at a meeting. I brought up some facts, just for the sake of discussion, but it was received as negative towards the company and possibly could reduce team morale by reducing their confidence in the accuracy of what we were discussing. Yes, I meant to keep that vague.
Even a year ago, I still carefully phrased, rephrased, and mentally practiced EVERYTHING before I said it. People always thought I was quiet and thoughtful, not that I was internally obsessed with not interrupting them, not bothering them, and making sure my words were perfect before releasing them. But now, the words flow out as quickly as the thoughts are formed. Great for blogging – not so great in team meetings in a company full of political drama.
I think part of the problem here, is that it feels SO GOOD to speak my mind, to not have secrets, to just be me – that I throw caution to the wind and get it all out. But I need to be careful with my new power, or it will come back to bite me. I think I need to put the filter back in place, just in a diminished form as it used to be.
But then, I had an interesting thought, (and because I’m blogging, it gets to come out) about why I have this need to be heard in meetings now? Am I trying to make sure they know I have ideas? Do I feel more important when they listen to me? Do I care about the end product so much to take these risks? Are the quiet people sitting on top of ideas they are too afraid to speak about, or am I the only one with ideas? Lots of questions here, and no way to answer them. I still feel like a social foreigner, so I must analyze my behavior and compare it to everyone else’s at every meeting. Why? What is the fear here?
I know there is a fear, but I can’t figure it out. It feels great to speak my mind during the meeting, and I hear my own voice going on and steering discussions, and I feel a bit high – I mean I really enjoy that. But then, as soon as the meeting is over, I feel afraid, unsure of what I just said, and request feedback from my supervisor, and apologize for talking too much. So what if I talk too much. I know lots of people that talk too much. Why do I think that is so bad and unacceptable behavior for myself?
I’m playing therapist here and digging deeper. I used to be scolded harshly for speaking whenever my mom was speaking to a friend, in person, or on the phone. I would sometimes wait hours for permission to speak up. She never beat me, but her anger and shame at me interrupting her was very powerful. (light bulb) I remember one time, around age 5 perhaps, actually messing my pants because it took so long to ask her to go to a bathroom. I just stood there next to her, while she would raise the finger indicating “1 minute-not now” and tried to without that natural urge. I never told her, just hoped no one could smell it, threw away the soiled undies back at home to hide my imperfection and avoid a lecture on how expensive new undies are, or how hard she works to clean our laundry. I know we all do this to our kids, but my own kids feel safe enough to say very loudly “But mom I have to go to potty NOW!” and then I take care of their needs. My mom would continue to ignore, give us angry looks, and scold us later for being rude. Even though I could hear her important grown up discussion was about the Cosby Show episode she saw the night before. I guess I can see how his jokes and amazing sweaters were more important than anything I might need, right? (I’m not as bitter as I sound there. Well, maybe I am. I guess I’m not in a place of total forgiveness to my parents yet. Every time I think I am, these hurt, bitter feelings come up when I reminisce)
My mom must have my bad manners made her look like a bad mom, so she enforced strict rules so we appeared as perfect angels to her friends. (narcissistic?) So, another reason I have always been crippled in any type of discussion, always waiting for my turn, for others to ask me to speak. I don’t naturally know how to join in.
So I think these meetings, when my supervisor asks for our thoughts, I feel freedom to speak, and then feel fear for taking up too much time, and shame if I say anything wrong and embarrass our team. Hmmm. And I think apologizing right away serves two purposes, clears my guilty conscience, and also allows me to own my mistake. This is huge. I have never had the ability to say , wow, I messed up, I will be more careful next time. And now I can.
So is this a good thing or not? Should I put the filter back on for work, or continue to voice my concerns? I don’t think I’m saying anything detrimental, or that will cause anger, just questioning best practices and answering questions asked by management, and I fear I may come across as a “know-it-all” and lose credibility if I’m not quiet sometimes. Need to find the balance there perhaps. They should not ask questions if they don’t want answers. (“The truth – You can’t handle the truth!”) Just tricky now that my team has been downsized from 25 to 5, our meetings are much more interactive now.