5 reasons why “It’s good to talk…”
The famous 90’s BT advertising slogan, celebrating the virtues of communication- “It’s good to talk”. It was a stroke of advertising genius. Redefining BT from simply a technology company to an essential ‘communications provider’. It has a place in our collective memory in part due to its effectiveness as a campaign, but also because of the accuracy of the statement. It no doubt had such a profound impact partially due to the simple truth of the statement.
The value of speaking up, of ‘talking’ in various forms and guises has been something I have really come to appreciate over the last few years. The catalyst was my writing work for the Silent Scream Anthology- through which I first felt the relief, empowerment and benefits that come with sharing and owning your personal ‘stories’. I also am learning a lot this year through my Year of No Fear 2019 project, and from having undergone a round of talking therapy recently.
So today on World Mental Health Day, I decided to share a little with the world! Here are 5 things I have found to be true in my experience of learning to share with my authentic voice and of talking therapies.
- “Sometimes you just need to say something, not because of how someone will respond, but because you need to say it”
This was the biggest personal takeaway from my time in talking therapy. I had stopped seeing the value in speaking up within certain relationships and contexts, fixating on the stories I would tell myself around the pointlessness of it. I was bound to limiting beliefs like the fact I can’t change other people’s behaviour and opinions with my words, I can’t make people listen and I can’t force anyone to accept a message they are not ready and willing to receive.
All of this stands true, however, it was my therapist who highlighted to me something (which others may have already thought obvious) that really shifted my perspective. Namely, It’s not always about other people and the effect your words will have on THEM. Sometimes saying something is simply a matter of speaking your truth. Of stating your values and outlining your boundaries to people, regardless of how they may be received. In that sense, talk is empowering. Articulating your thoughts, feelings, and boundaries is a way to feel stronger and to assert your personal power-if only to yourself
2. There is a definite power in spoken word
“Have you heard yourself??” This is often leveled as an accusation when we think someone is being a bit ridiculous, but there are times when actually hearing yourself say something out loud has real power- whether it serves as a catalyst to acceptance or as an epiphany moment. I certainly had a few epiphany moments just through saying something out loud. Even if it’s something you already ‘know’ in your self, speaking the actual words out loud can be powerful and healing.
3. Reinforcing and building connection
Sharing strengthens existing bonds and ties. It can offer companionship and solidarity in difficult times. Sharing will not make problems magically disappear, but it can serve to make them more manageable.
Forging connection was certainly one of my most valuable experiences when I embarked on writing for the Silent Scream Anthology. Through sharing my own contribution and processing others, I was able to make deep and lasting connections with other people on the project.
4. Professional settings can provide a safe space for release
This one seems obvious, but it is one thing I like to remember: not everyone is as lucky as I am, and some people are not just suffering in silence because of their fear of judgement in the way I once was. Some people are in situations where speaking up/out ha dangerous repercussions for them. If they can access professional help then the safe space provided by a counseller or therapist is all the more valuable. It can be a place where they can release the pressure of the thought and feelings the have trapped within themselves and process them with support until they are hopefully in a position to leave their situation.
5. Silence can make you unintentionally complicit
This one can be a hard pill to swallow. It was for me, I have found myself questioning my silence over certain issues and situations a lot over the past year. I have often held back from giving opinions on things I deemed ‘not my business’ or for fear being opinionated would lead to ‘who does she think she is?’ kinds of judgements.
But I have come to realise when I stay silent on matters I feel strongly about I’m denying my own authentic truth and feelings, as well as making it much easier for the status quo to prevail. In addition, I am incredibly lucky and privileged to be in a position in life where I can speak out with safety, and people often do hear and receive me well (excepting my children, obviously) This is something I am massively grateful for, truly. In accepting that I am in this place of privilege, I have come to believe if I can speak for what I believe in, or for those less fortunate, then I should, otherwise It would be a wasted opportunity.
It’s also as good a day as any to share with you all the link to my Justgiving page, raising money for MIND mental health charity through my ‘Year of No Fear’ project. Click below and donate if you feel called 💖
Thanks for reading, and happy talking to you all