Stop Walking on Eggshells and Use Your Voice

A common communication habit that we get into is walking on eggshells. This sense that we have to hold back or suppress what we want to say because we worry about another person’s reactions. It’s a way to avoid conflict and also a way to try and control a situation or a person’s response to what we need to say.

This is toxic on so many levels.

It’s not your responsibility to manage another person’s reactivity. You need to release this idea. How another person responds to you is always their issue and will reflect their level of health and whatever personal issues they need to work through. This is not yours to control and you should certainly not try to inhibit yourself to help manage their issues.

Every time you hold back and suppress what you have to say, you had layers of activation to your nervous system. This will build up over time creating prime circumstances for an eventual blow out and over reaction on your part when you no longer can hold it all inside. But this also eats away at your self confidence.

The things you need to say have value and meaning, if to no one else, they have value and meaning to you. That should be enough. You need to own that. No one has more of a right to be expressive than you do – it’s a sign of low self worth if you believe that they do.

There is no award or pride allowed in this act of keeping the peace through suppression. It doesn’t make you a master of self control, martyrs are not people we want to be around, and in the end you’re damaging yourself and not allowing relationships to grow because of the fear that you’ve become attached to – so don’t go there. This is not a good habit!

You should only be in relationships where you can express yourself with safety. This doesn’t mean that you’re intentionally inconsiderate. You have to make sure that you’ve checked your own perceptions, that you’ve contemplated the message and that you are grounded, thoughtful and careful with your words. You want to be articulate and clear and be able to communicate on that person’s level. But that doesn’t mean being afraid or walking on eggshells.

You can gain confidence in this area by practicing in your imagination what you want to say. You might even be able to predict the other person’s reaction and you might think you know how it’s going to go. But what you want to do is practice saying what you need to say with confidence and being self assured and you want to imagine that the other person responds in the perfect way. This will help your system ease into a more grounded place.

Don’t ‘worse case scenario’ this – your mind has already done that and that’s why you haven’t stepped out in your own voice yet already. Worse case scenario sets us up to be guarded and prepared for threat initiating fight or flight sequences and anxiety before we have even had the discussion – this is a set up for failure no matter what. Imagine best case scenario – get grounded, and go in knowing that you are not responsible for their reaction and however they do respond you will manage calmly. If their reaction is explosive, disengage and walk away.

Eggshells means that we tiptoe around being nervous and cautious because we don’t want confrontation because we are afraid of disconnection. We know the need for connection is innate and that’s why this can feel scary.

A healthy relationship isn’t the absence of conflict or confrontation, it’s the ability to have those conversations and still maintain and regain connection. 

If you have been walking on eggshells – if this has become your habit, you need to start practicing in your mind first and then you need to start stepping out into this in your life. It will feel uncomfortable – very uncomfortable – know this, don’t run from it, just accept it. It won’t be worse case scenario – it might turn out better than you expected , but also know you can’t control either outcome.

Stop being attached to the outcome when you’re dealing with another person. Once you start, it will get easier.

This will help you start to set boundaries with people and people will start  respecting those boundaries. People will start treating you differently. The way you carry yourself, your posture, tone of your voice, and your energy will start to be different. Those who are unhealthy will start to move into the periphery of your life now that they don’t have control over your voice and those that are healthy and can have open communication with will come closer.

The bottom line is that you have a right to say what you need to say and the idea that you should hold back for anyone should become abhorrent to you. It’s a betrayal of self.

You should be consistently working on this so you can be bold in the way that you need to and that you are entitled to.

Find your voice, learn how to articulate your thoughts and emotions, use your voice regularly – be bold.

Refuse to walk on eggshells for anyone. Refuse to shrink because another person can’t control their emotions.

Stop trying to control other people’s reactions and own your own voice. This is your ticket to personal freedom.

Is this an area you need help with? Let’s talk tara@westkelownacounselling.com