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The Fear of Communicating – Breaking the Everlasting Pattern of Silence

The communication issues in our world have really reared their ugly face these last few months-revealing an incredibly toxic embracing of a “keep to yourself, don’t speak up” attitude in our society.

One might argue, in a society where there are so many ways to communicate, how could we be suffering on the communication front? Despite the technological advancements in interacting with others digitally, beyond what we could dream even a decade or two ago, it appears communication is more than a lost art; it’s crippling us.

More and more, we’re just plain afraid to communicate. Many are engulfed in well-earned, but misplaced, crippling anxiety to express themselves, creating undue pain and depression, among other health issues. For some, it’s even a threat to their livelihoods and well-being.

The outpouring on news and social media of the same issues further supports this observation. Risks of losing jobs and careers have been reconsidered and set aside in this uncertain time; individuals began speaking up on the rampant mistreatment of themselves and coworkers at organizations because of race, gender, beliefs, and more. They couldn’t speak up then; they didn’t feel it was safe. It still is not entirely safe, but the point is, they finally need to be heard.

Unfortunately, society’s current form here is an independent culture founded on the principle that we are this country of opportunity, including an unwritten understanding that supports keeping to oneself. The standard where one’s things, possessions, and status might be more symbolic and representative of your true self. Revealing feelings and thoughts are weaknesses. Mental health is an avoided issue.

This system and way of life has failed us all. The “open” culture so purported by many organizations and society are not always that open, especially if they don’t want to hear what you have to say. Sure, there are cases where one may be heard, and the issue is actually taken care of. Yet, many times, issues are swept under the rug. Ignored. Further allowed. Voices muted. The result: damage to your confidence, ego, and psyche.

It adds to an already unhealthy culture we’ve created where speaking up, out, or talking about feelings are not appropriate in the workplace or home. And sure, generations grew up with this and integrated it rather seamlessly into their lives, but it has created so much pain, while further limiting our progress. How many issues today could have been fixed or bettered with proper communication and dialogue between each other? What could we have done if more were willing to speak up because they felt safe to speak up? How do we even begin to approach fixing this?

Years and decades of holding back, keeping quiet and not speaking up has bubbled. I’m proud people are speaking up, and some progress is being made now, but it should have happened years ago. We shouldn’t be this far behind. We should have already been working to empower each other’s voices. Enabling others to be heard. Sitting down and listening.

In essence, we’ve all failed each other. But it’s not too late. We can fix this, especially in our own lives and surrounding communities.

As I take on the Editor position at Moxie Magazine starting in September, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure and open that door to you outside of these pages. I myself have taken a long road to get to the point where I can comfortably express myself being in a world that hasn’t exactly embraced it. I want to work to build all up to be comfortable in expression: To be able to speak up when things are not okay, share our triumphs and celebrations, and essentially, not be afraid. Let’s open up the conversation!

That being said, how can I best represent and get you to be more comfortable in your skin and with your voice? How do we get you on the road to feel empowered? In essence, the goal is to help communication and sharing feel like a relief rather than a burden. We need to open up communication and create the safe spaces we so sincerely lack.

With that, I ask you to find your voice. Join me on this journey as we all find our voices together. There’s enough to fear in this world, and our feelings, thoughts, and wellbeing shouldn’t be one of them.

Stay safe out there. Cheers to this journey of ours in the making.

Lalita Chemello is a Detroit-born writer now living in west Michigan. She’s written/edited for New Roads lifestyle magazine and Panorama. Her other passions are photography, motorsports & screenwriting. You can also occasionally find her around town on her vintage two wheels.

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