A friend recently shared this video with me. It’s an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. Just as a heads up – if you choose to watch it, the discussion revolves largely around sex.
So many of the comments Gwenyth made in this video rang true for me. The part that especially excited me was when they broached the topic of accountability around the 12 minute mark. Gwyneth says, “Speaking up for ourselves means we have to be accountable…”
Just think about this for a minute.
Speaking up. Stating what you do or do not like or want. Verbalizing your needs. What does that look like?
“I’d like to eat at (blank) tonight.”
“I’d really love to visit (blank).”
“I’d like a raise for the extra responsibility I’ve taken on.”
“I’d like to be treated with more love and respect.”
“I like to be touched this way.”
Once you have placed your desire/need/want out there – you are now accountable to go after it. You must own it. Sometimes we’d rather not speak up. We actively avoid taking on the responsibility we’ve asked to embrace. And yet, choosing not to make a choice is…a choice. You’re allowing whatever to happen as it will happen which means you get to avoid responsibility for the outcome.
The reality is – if you don’t speak up, you can’t be disappointed when something doesn’t go your way. You claimed you didn’t have a “your way.” When you miss out on a restaurant you’d prefer over group consensus. Or someone gave you a gift or performed an act of service…and you don’t truly appreciate what they’ve done. Is it their fault they missed the mark? Can you, with a clear conscience, be upset with them for failing to achieve your invisible expectation? Is the refusal to speak up and own your choice a mechanism you use to justify complaining about your life and the things you miss out on?
The next time someone asks you what you’d like, take a moment to check in. Do you have a preference and are avoiding voicing it? If so, why? What areas of your life can you make better by simply acknowledging you do have a preference? Voicing it just might mean someone could help you meet your hopes and desires.