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#2 How can I learn to speak up?

Question: Hi Merja, you seem to be so good at being straight and direct with people, how can I harness some of that “Merja energy” when I am in challenging situations where I need to speak up?

I get this comment a lot of the time, it’s not so much that I was born straight and direct and being able to express what I need to express. It was more that I had to learn it, because a lot of my life I felt very dis-empowered and very much at the receiving end of the world, and I felt like I didn’t really have my own voice, nor did I have my own needs being met for a really long time; I didn’t even know what my needs were.

Your body will usually tell you what your needs are. In the beginning when you start to do this it might be something as simple as your body saying ‘no this isn’t right’ instead of asking for something more specific, and when that happens just say ‘OK, my body’s saying this isn’t right, so what I actually need to do right now is, I need to ask this situation to be paused, and I need to just take a bathroom break and compose myself, and then go back into the situation and see it with fresh eyes’. So on that note, the first thing that you need to do is realize what your needs are. If you don’t know what your needs are, you can’t have them fulfilled. So in those situations of confrontation if you are able to just relax into the actual situation and feel how you feel in y

Once you know what your needs are and how to meet them, the second part is to learn to ask for it, and this is a skill. Like any skill you need to practice it to become competent, and then you need to practice to become confident and then you need to practice it to become really successful in it. So, the more you practice doing the things that you are bad at, the better at it you actually get. What tends to happen is for the first ten times something feels really uncomfortable, so when you’re asking for your needs to be met for the first three to five times it still feels very uncomfortable and you go like “ah there’s no point because this isn’t getting any easier.” it is getting easier, just bare with it and the more present you can be with the situation that you’re in, the easier it becomes over time, to firstly realise what you need and secondly ask for those needs to be met. So, just be patient with yourself and be patient with the situation and try and slow things way down so that you can keep up with how your emotions are coming up for you, so that you don’t behave in an emotional way.

So that’s what I would say, number one get clear on what your needs actually are and then number two, learn to ask for the things that are important to you and number three practice, practice, practice!

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