I was raised by my Grandmother. She was outspoken, she was fiery and she was stubborn. With all these qualities she was still the old fashioned, dinner from scratch every night, act like a lady, keep a clean house, have some pride woman, she is a character to say the least. One thing she told me was "Be quiet when adults are speaking". As an impressionable young girl, this could raise some issues as I got older. For one, it put me under the impression that what I had to say, what I thought and how I felt didn't need to be voiced to authoritative figures, this soon included peers. Fast forward through life and I'm in my early 20's not knowing how to say speak my mind and feeling as though if I did, it wasn't important.
I started failing in all areas of communication. Looking back at it, it's weird as hell to not feel free enough in spaces that I can speak my mind and it be heard. I still to this day go out and I'm labeled "the quiet one", I'm far from quiet, I just don't see every platform as a safe place to express myself. Everyone is so cautious and hesitant to speak their mind that a lot goes unsaid, but what are we afraid of? Being judged, offending, or coming across wrong, most importantly rejection. There seems to be less and less open spaces to safely communicate our thoughts, feelings and ideas of not only ourselves but each other.
What about being on the receiving end on communication? HA! I can't take criticism for shit, any form of it has me on defense/dismissive mode. I'm never open to it, but who else criticizes you aside from loved ones? I tell myself that someone will always see something that I miss, and try to chalk it up as that. That's an area I'm clearly still working on, being receptive and understanding vs defensive and dismissive.
So what I've learned is to respect places that I can openly and candidly express myself, along with build and create other places and relationships that can hold the same type of communication. Once these spaces are built, don't allow my ego, or pride to destroy them. Communication is a balancing act just like anything else life throws us.