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It Takes Courage to Speak Your Mind

2013 December 6

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~Martin Luther King

Speak Your MindStanding up for what you believe and having the courage to speak your mind is not only one of the most admirable traits a person can possess, but it is at the same time one of the most challenging and self fulfilling. It can also leave you standing alone in a crowd at times.

I came across an interesting conversation online recently about commenting in various social media channels, including blogs. The topic of the thread was what to do when you disagree with what is being said. Is it better to simply agree with the conversation rather than make waves, or is it better to say nothing at all. Of course the benefit of agreeing (whether you do or not) is that you gain points as being part of a like-minded group. But the question is, at what cost.

Many of us worry about not fitting in or that our friends will be critical and lack understanding if we dare show that we have a mind of our own. Make no mistake about it, standing up for what you believe in requires courage, and as much as we like to believe that others will swoop-in to defend our honor, more often than not that is unlikely to happen.

Of course like everything in life there are extremes. Sometimes the subject is one that you honestly have no strong feelings about one way or the other, and at other times it may be a topic that is so intensely personal you wouldn’t consider discussing your views with strangers. I am a strong believer in speaking up for things that matter, but at the same time the newsfeed on Facebook is not always the best place to do it.

Ultimately choosing to speak up for the things that truly matter to us is a personal decision. As you give some thought to this topic, here are a few inspiring thoughts from others who have contemplated the value of speaking up about things that matter.

Speak Your Mind

  • The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
  • When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret. ~Shannon L. Alder
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King
  • Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost. ~Chauncey Depew
  • It is better to speak your mind and tell the truth than to stay silent and lie to yourself. ~Author Unknown
  • Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth. ~Mohandas Gandhi
  • Speak your mind. It is often the words which you don’t say that haunt you for the longest time. ~Author Unknown
  • Speak your mind and you’ll be heard for a long time, but if you say what people want to hear, it’ll be forgotten in a day. ~Author Unknown
  • In Germany they came first for the Communist, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. ~Martin Niemoller
  • Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes. ~Maggie Kuhn

As important as it is to speak up, there are times silence says so much more …

  • My silence doesn’t mean that I have nothing to say or that I agree with you. It means that you are either not ready, or simply don’t matter enough to hear my words. ~Author Unknown

Thank youIf you found this post inspiring I hope you’ll consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends! In fact I’d love to connect with YOU! To follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., just click here

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11 Responses
  1. December 30, 2013

    Hi Marty,

    This is a great post. It can sometimes be difficult knowing when to stand up for something and when to let it go. For me, it depends upon who the audience is (not always worth it). Like most people, I like to be a part of the tribe; however, I do not mask who I am or what I believe to do so.

    I chuckled when reading your comment “It can also leave you standing alone in a crowd at times” because during high school and college I frequently found myself standing alone after voicing issues that were uncovered during whispered conversations.

    Love some of your quotes.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..How to Select the Right WordPress Theme for YouMy Profile

  2. December 19, 2013

    I am thinking of that TV show – “What Would You Do” where situations are played out in public and the show is based on who speaks up. It depends on the situation if I voice my opinion or not. But I certainly know it’s important to stand up for what you believe to be true in your life, your values, etc. And it takes courage to say – no. As usual, wonderful post
    Lesly Federici recently posted..Do This And Increase Your Desired OutcomesMy Profile

  3. December 19, 2013

    I’m a bit like Sue – I like to avoid arguments, so I don’t always speak my mind, then I’ll waste time (inside my mind) thinking about that particular thing. However, sometimes if something really “gets to me”, I’ll write a letter to the person, then I feel better. I find writing a letter more satisfying because I can say whatever I want and no-one can interrupt. Last time I did that, I had to run over to the letter box in case I changed my mind and ripped up the letter.

    My husband on the other hand, if he disagrees with something, I can see it “brewing” inside his head, about to explode. I usually try to get out of there because I know someone’s going to “blow up”. He can never keep quiet, even if it’s going to cause trouble, he always HAS to say something (especially when he and my mother are in the same room:-( He doesn’t just stand up for himself either, he feels the need to stand up for me, which I really dislike! That means I have to try not to tell him whatever is bothering me, or he “opens his big mouth”!
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..Feeling good really helps to grow your businessMy Profile

  4. December 13, 2013

    LOVE your post Marquita powerful and inspiring! Yes healing is always a process, never an end….were on the same journey, I feel so much the same way as we navigate this thing called world…Love you <3

  5. December 9, 2013

    as usual, you wrote another great article.. this is also a very interesting one.

    I am a guy who usually Speak It’s Mind so often that is a norm to get in trouble…

    Believe it or not, I got into situation that I was wrong to Speak My Mind and soon I would be facing a situation where Not Speaking My Mind got me in trouble as well…

    So what I do? I keep on doing what I believe is noble for me and if someone or a group of some sort they do not agree, or do not like it or they believe that is not a place for what I say or do not say, well, they better let me know because I will never know unless they Speak Their Mind.

    Dr. Erica clearly outlined some of the great ways to do it correctly (I remember one of the first interaction with her that teach me what was appropriate to leave as a comment and what was not because it was personal… Thanks again Dr. Erica :-) that is how I learn best, if someone Speak Their Mind.

    Thanks so much again and thanks for al the great quotes that they go with it..
    nick catricala recently posted..Pay attention at the Message NOT at the MessengerMy Profile

  6. December 8, 2013

    I must admit that I avoid arguments and if I think that something that I say will lead to one I often shy away. If it comes to what I perceive as an injustice against people close to me then that is different. In particular I have had to be a vocal advocate for my son who has a disability People who are unable to speak up for themselves need others to do it for them.
    Sue Bride recently posted..Simple Strategies to Beat Holiday StressMy Profile

  7. December 8, 2013


    I left a long response here but it disappeared. I like your post because it is encouraging us to speak our mind, to not be afraid and to realize the power of doing so. However, I have suggested several situations in which it is not preferable to speak up, at least at the moment.

    1. When joining a new group or team, it is crucial to first become an accepted member before expressing differing perspectives and pushing for some cause of your own.

    2. When you are presenting some new idea, new research, new concept or invention, it is helpful to gain your own credibility first and then introduce your new project to a group that already knows and accepts you.

    3. In an abusive, dangerous or life threatening situation, it is often best to remain silent until you are able to get out of and away from the situation, and then you are free to speak up to the proper authorities that can help.

    My favorite saying about this is: Know your position and the possibilities are endless.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..7 Simple Ways to Bring Romance Back Into Your RelationshipMy Profile

  8. December 8, 2013

    I love this article – and was nodding in agreement all the way through… and it got me thinking…(mind again) that often the fear is real because people react from the mind, whereas when you speak with your heart you have come to an energy of responding…yet of course as the story goes when the higher mind is activated that it is always aligned with the heart…but that is whole ‘another’ story…!
    Sarupa Shah recently posted..“Can meditation help heal my money story?”My Profile

  9. December 7, 2013

    Hello Marty and Kudo’s for the great article! To many times I come across a newsfeed where I would love to leave my opinion yet I find myself just moving on. I guess the good part is that I can just leave a like to let them know I was there HEHE!

    Thanks for all the great quotes as well I did snag a few.. Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..Wealth Without RestrictionsMy Profile

  10. December 7, 2013

    It does take courage to speak ones mind. But things will never be changed and will always be neutral if you don’t convey what is inside your mind and heart. It may be risky but it will always be worth the risk especially if you know it would be for the better.
    Connor Harley recently posted..Help with Setting up a BusinessMy Profile

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