As a therapist of many years here in San Diego and Encinitas I have noticed that most people don’t say what they want. So if you fear speaking up you are not alone. But why would so many of us fear taking a stand for ourselves? The answer lies way, way back in time…back to our childhoods. When we are children our primary objective is to survive. This means keeping our caretakers happy and not making any waves. Of course as infants we cannot control our crying or other automatic behaviors. But we learn fast. If we are ignored, dismissed, criticized, or abused in any way we are immediately put in fear for our safety. Remember how dependent we are as infants and children…and how vulnerable. We cannot afford to take a stand or to say what we want, even if we knew how. So we tend to withdraw within ourselves and attempt to get our needs filled in other ways than through direct communication. We can become angry, fearful, depressed, manipulative, passive aggressive, over reactive…even going crazy is a way of attempting to safely fill our needs. Here is the good news: even though you cannot change your childhood past, you can change how you react to it. You can see that you are no longer trapped in childhood and as the adult you are today you can realize that you are safe to be more direct in how you communicate. You can say what you want and what you need without fear for your safety. Yes, some people will not like it, be surprised at your ‘forwardness’, but those will be the people that fear for their own safety. There will be others who will welcome it because they will not have to constantly second guess what you want. But most importantly, you will be free to be your true self. Take a test drive and see if this isn’t true. You deserve to say what you need and want!