Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Everything we do or don't do has consequences. So, too, what we say or don't say. I allow potential consequences to paralyze me sometimes. Last Sunday, two different friends said things to me that hurt my feelings. I chose not to say anything. The consequence? I am uncomfortable with myself and with them. Why don't I say something? I'm afraid of the consequence. What if they don't understand why I feel the way I do and get upset with me? What if they say they understand, but pull away emotionally?

I hardly ever think of the potential positive outcome - I say how I feel, they acknowledge it and we both move on. That is the most likely result. But I allow my fear of the consequences to keep me from speaking my truth. I'm reaching a point where that is no longer acceptable to me. I need to trust my own instincts, not worry about the reaction I might get, trust in my ability to say how I feel in a way that doesn't judge or harm someone else, and let go of the result. This is a key ingredient to having inner peace.

Do you allow fear of consequences to keep you from doing or saying what you need to?



Rayna M. Iyer said...

That used to be me. And when I let people say things that hurt my feelings, I used to end up feeling miserable about it, and that affected how I was with people after that.
Even now, when someone says something to me that hurts my feelings, I am often not able to say anything back to them right then. But if I am really hurt, I call them up and let them know, because without that, I am not able to let go.

Maribeth said...

I am still working on this. It comes from my abused background. When you are in that situation you must always weigh the consequences and it carries over. I am learning to do what is best for my well-being but "It ain't easy, Baby" as the old PI books used to say.
Giggles and Guns

Karen Walker said...

Rayna, how fortunate you learned this lesson - and at a much younger age. But it's never too late, I'm finding.
Maribeth, yes, having been abused follows us wherever we go. It may not be easy, but it is possible to change the way we react to things.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Yes and no.

I'm one of those people who bottles it up inside until I just *have* to say something, then it doesn't come out right! So it's likely much better to bring things up at that moment in a calmer way than letting it build up.

Mason Canyon said...

Sometimes it's hard for me to say anything to someone if they hurt my feelings. But in the end I guess I'm the only one upset if I don't say something to them.

Thoughts in Progress

Helen Ginger said...

It's natural for us to monitor ourselves. But it can be hurtful (to us) sometimes when we do. We suppress our true feelings. I'm wondering if this is more so with women, since we're taught to be polite.

Straight From Hel

Karen Walker said...

elizabeth, I've learned that if I bottle it up, it will explode out of me when I'm not prepared for that, so I'm trying to do it as it happens. Doesn't always happen, though.
Mason, that's so true. We are the only ones upset if we don't say anything because the other person doesn't have a clue they've even hurt us.
Helen, I do think this is more so with women, mostly because we are more in touch with emotions than men. Yes, being taught to be polite, don't make waves, keep the peace, etc., all contribute to our inner peace being disturbed.

T. Anne said...

I try to unleash my characters and not hold back when I write. I hate moderating what they say, it makes it feel sterile.

Cyndi said...

I used to struggle with this quite a bit. This is actually one of the areas in which I've gotten much better about not worrying about the worst possible case scenario and just saying what I need to say. The only exception for me is at work. I still have a hard time there.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It depends on the circumstances and my mood. And then sometimes I can’t think of the perfect reply until it comes to me a couple of hours too late.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

There are few people who will eagerly put themselves into an uncomfortable situation or have that uncomfortable conversation. Sometimes it is better to let remarks roll off your back, sometimes it's best to speak up. If you've got that knot in your stomach or your mind keeps running the remarks over and over I'd suggest you do something about it. It's all about choice.

Jen Chandler said...

Karen, I can so relate. It's hard for me to say what I need to say. I'm terrible at confrontation. I usually just blank stare and then, when it's all over, I think of what I needed to say, what I should have said. I have to process things and that takes a while. It's something I'm working on, something I need to work on. There are some hard conversations I need to have. I'm just needing to find the courage to have them.

Karen Walker said...

Cyndi, yeah, work would be harder - the stakes are higher.
Jane, me too. I can stay awake at night replaying a conversation with responses I wished I'd made
Elspeth, yes, you're right. It is all about choice.
Jen, sending you hugs across the ether. Having those tough conversations can be scary. I'm learning that if I speak from my heart with love, I'm okay, no matter what the response may be,because I've been true to myself.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I used to be a bit outspoken and brash. My husband called it honest and blunt! I've since learned I can still be honest but do it with tact.
Don't be afraid to speak up, Karen. Believe me, it will sound nicer than when I say it!

Joanne said...

With people I'm very close to, I'm always honest and forthright with my feelings. Others, not so much. I'm not sure why, but sometimes I think it's just easier to let certain things go than to get into territory I might not want to be in with certain folks.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, yes, tone of voice is key when speaking up. I try to wait until I can be relatively come, but it doesn't always work.
JOanne, I like that approach. With close friends it's much more important to be honest. Why wouldn't I be?

KarenG said...

I do this all the time because I avoid confrontation. But not with my husband at least. Him I can be honest with otherwise we'd be in big trouble. But friends and even some family members, yes, I withdraw and either get over it or if it happens repeatedly then I stay away from them.

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't like confrontation - so my mouth almost always stays shut. Most of the time it all works out any way, but I'm starting to push myself to speak out once in a while.

Tabitha Bird said...

I used to let the fear of things keep me from saying what I really thought. Now I rarely stop myself from speaking up just because I am afraid. Though I am human and it sometimes happens. The consequences of not showing up in life is that people don't get to know the real me. I think I would rather be hated for being who I am than loved for being fake. That is what it boils down to for me.

Joie said...

Completely understanding your dilemma as I too have a sensitive nerve that won't just relax. Tonight as I thought of it again, I realized my own sensitivity may filter something a friend says differently than they meant it to sound. Not an easy fix, but thank you for sharing your experience with this.

Joie said...

If this were a contest, I might be in the running for medalist of the week. A neighbor literally threatened me physically and verbally stated, "I'm gonna kill you" last weekend and I had to think for several days about filing legal charges - as I didn't want to make a bad situation worse.

How many times has someone told me - don't hurt - don't feel - don't protect yourself. I did file today with the sentiment that SOMEONE has to let her know this is not acceptable behavior. Not - YOU can't do that to me - but reducing it to "someone" else might get hurt if I don't step up.Is this just NUTS ??