Speak Up

I am a relatively quiet person. I say relatively because when I think of a Quiet Person I always think of my grandfather, who could go hours in your company without saying a word, and who spoke so softly (and so compellingly) that you had to lean in to catch the gravity of his words.

This is not the first time I’ve been driven to write about being a quiet person, or of Daddy Earl as the epitome of the Quiet Person. Several months ago I wrote a (yes, slightly bitter) post about the difficulties of being an introvert in conversations. In recent reflection, I think maybe I have put too much of the onus of my quietness (quietude?) on the bold. Because, yeah, I’m timid. I hold back my ideas and divulge them at a decibel too low to be heard by anybody other than the person next to me, or the person who has kindly tuned into my frequency.

Would it help me if the talkers and the bold asked me for my thoughts and ideas? Definitely. Is that their responsibility? No.

It’s my responsibility to speak up if I feel I have something worthy to contribute. The problem is, sometimes I just don’t know how. It seems too monumental an effort to speak loudly enough to be heard over the talkers, to be seen among the tall people.

My ideas might get rejected, y’know?

I have boundless ideas but they’re not always good ones. So, just in case, I’ll hold back. Someone else will have a good idea.

Surely I’m not the only one with this struggle. Will you speak up about it?


8 thoughts on “Speak Up

  1. I’m like this, too! God’s teaching me to disagree in person with people (kindly and respectfully) instead of holding my tongue and unleashing my strong opinions on Philip or some other innocent friend I feel comfortable enough to tell my true thoughts to. Definitely understanding this whole “fear of man” thing more recently. The sin I most often commit is judging others (and yet wanting them to like me! It’s a weird friction of pride and vanity), so this has been a difficult area to obey.

    In regards to sharing thoughts and ideas during team meetings or something, God’s working on giving me thicker skin so that I as a person don’t feel rejected even if my idea ultimately is. Hard stuff.


    1. My dear Joanna,

      I would love it if you spoke up more in meetings! You have a perspective that’s different from the rest of the team’s and we need that. I always love hearing your ideas.


  2. Introverts often have highly valuable insight and ideas because of the fact that they think before they speak. I am an extrovert, and sometimes it takes me 3 hours of blabbing before something worthwhile comes out. I hugely value the input of my more introverted friends as I can depend on them for thought out insight.
    You don’t have to have a fully formed idea to present it to a group, you’re not suggesting ‘the’ idea, just a contribution to a conversation. It’s okay to be wrong or not have the best idea, not every idea has to be ‘the best’, but what is important is learning how to contribute in a community and know that you are worthy to do so. Your worth is not defined by how valuable your ideas are. Don’t hold back, don’t fear rejection – every contribution is valuable and I’m sure you have a ton of interesting ideas that extroverts like me don’t even stop to consider. Introverts are fantastic!

    – Sian

  3. Thank you for this lovely post! I used to believe that the extroverts were the loudest because they had some secret that let them in on the cool things to say along with innate loud voices & quick minds. By the time I reached 40 I was exhausted of my 20 year acting gig as a “pseudo extrovert”. Self acceptance started to seep in when I discovered Elaine Aaron. A year ago I discovered the book that shifted my thinking enough to start a blog! http://www.quietrev.com
    It is time for introverts to take back their power & change the world, quietly! Who do you think got the world into the mess it is in today?

    By the way, I limit my time spent with extroverts & cherish my time with myself.

  4. I was like you when I was a lot younger. In class I felt too timid to raise my hand and answer the question ’cause I thought I was wrong. Then someone would answer the same and in my head I was screaming “Hey, that’s what I was gonna say!” Then I just practiced speaking up. It took all my energy (it still does). At first people didn’t want to listen to me because they weren’t used to me speaking up. As I practiced (because it was important that I don’t feel invisible anymore), I learned to use humor with my voice…then at least people would give me an eye-roll or something. Then they started to laugh. Then I got their attention…I had things to say. What made me just go for it was I was at the point of being too tired of feeling invisible… I had no choice but to change things. So…just go for it! practice. and who cares if you’re wrong. I bet you most of that stuff you’ll be right about. Or some of your ideas will change the world!

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