Some of us have a very strong passion for justice. Which is not to say that we are better than other people. It just means that when our subjective perception of what is right versus what is wrong becomes unhinged, we feel a pressing need to say what we think.

Anyone recognize themselves? This feeling that cries out so loudly that we just have to say what we think and feel.

Sometimes I think that this feeling is more about our own need to get out what we think and feel, than it is about our words having the power to create the desired change.

We explosive types need to learn and practice how to check ourselves and realize that we don’t always need to take up space with our opinions. We need to choose our battles and realize that our need to say what we think and feel doesn’t always reflect what the people around us need to hear.

A lot of conflicts at the workplace and in families are rooted in the fact that we, us outgoing and outspoken types, don’t check ourselves to be more selective in choosing our battles.

There are other people who are the exact opposite and who stand in the background and speak out far too seldom. This brings a risk of complete imbalance. It is often precisely from these people that others need to hear. They would do well to take up arms every once in a while and speak up sometimes.

Both the explosive and the timid are culprits in preventing healthy communication. I see this in families, at workplaces, and in other situations where people try to work together.

The first step is self-awareness. Are you someone who needs to control your impulses and hold back a bit, maybe give space for another voice than your own? I am one of these people and am well aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of being wired like this. Or are you someone who needs to work on taking space? Not just thinking what you feel, but also verbally expressing it to others?

A third and very dangerous way of communicating is showing with non-verbal communication how we feel. Sighing, rolling our eyes, facial expressions, body language and other signals. This type of communication can be just as strong as a verbal outburst. People who do this often protect themselves with the guise that they haven’t said anything. Yet they have actually communicated multitudes.

Let’s think about who we are and how we communicate. Do we need to slow down, speed up or stop non-verbal insinuations? When we are aware of how we communicate or don’t communicate, we can start to make the changes necessary for us to work better together in our families, circles of friends, workplaces and other contexts.

We are all people, beautiful and brilliant diamonds, but all diamonds need to be polished to shine even more brilliantly.

Have a brilliant day!

Ulf Lidman

Choosing your battles.