Restraint and Self-control are good, but should not stifle confidence. Sometimes, you need to let go of your pride and speak anyway. Things won’t always turn out how you plan them in your head–so you might as well plan for that and move on.
image from Cody A. Ray
I had an epiphany yesterday, instigated by a conversation I had while attending the farewell party of a friend of mine. Let me tell it as a story, it’ll be easier. Once upon a time I had a conversation. She would speak to me in Chinese, and I would understand–nodding and interjecting as necessary to show this. Occasionally I’d reply myself–sometimes in Chinese but more often in English. Nothing really miraculous was said, but I left the meeting a bit disappointed with myself. I’m not a stellar conversationalist at the best of times, but I usually contribute more than I did in this instance. The problem was not the company or the topic, but my own insecurity in speaking the language I love.
Upon recounting this experience to my mother she gave me this advice: “you need to just speak anyway, Cozybooks. I understand what you’re talking about [and she does, as a non-native speaker of French] but you have to understand–when someone else tries to speak English to you, they go through the same thing.” I was paraphrasing, but the message remains the same. And it applies to more than learning Chinese. At some point, you need to stop analyzing and speak your mind. It can be done with restraint and grace and thought–but nothing will change unless you first decide to speak.
This week, I will use my self-restraint to empower my ability to speak–by choosing to speak up.
Thanks for reading,