Do you recognize this scenario?
You finally find your voice and speak up about your calling, desires and gifts.
Maybe you even get up the courage to start encouraging others in person or online.
You expect your family and friends to cheer you on. But suddenly—without warning—the people closest to you fall absolutely silent. It’s like they won’t even acknowledge the huge breakthrough you’ve just had that has unlocked your real voice.
On my journey with courageous communication, I found this all very disturbing.
Every time I would hit a new level, I would encounter a new level of silence in my immediate community.
And y’all, that silence was deafening.
My first response was to try to figure out why they weren’t on board. Then I wanted to know what I could do to convinced them to support the newer, bolder version of me.
If that’s you…
If you’ve recently dipped your toe into the waters and begun sharing your real voice, your real desires and your real calling…
And if your (normally outspoken and supportive) inner circle just got as quiet as a graveyard…
This post is for you.
You see, your voice is so powerful that not only can it liberate your words…. but it can cause others to put their words under lock and key.
Here’s what you need to know about this weird and often frightening phenomenon:
1) Understand that you can’t take people with you.
I know you wanted your most beloved people to jump on this bandwagon of authenticity, cheer for you, and ride off with you into the sunset of more income, more opportunities, and more fulfilling relationships. But in most cases, they’re not going to.
You see, these people haven’t gone on your journey. They haven’t been there for every moment God has used to work transformation within you. And here’s the kicker… they are probably not as emotionally open to transformation as you currently are.
I know you as an empathic, loving, community-oriented woman want to see everyone thrive and support each other. But you honestly cannot take everyone with you… because each person is a unique human being on his or her own journey. The faster you make peace with this, the faster you’ll be able to recover from the disappointment.
2) Recognize the generational “contracts of silence” at work in your inner circle.
There’s one reason, and one reason only, that people fall silent when someone in their group starts speaking up. It’s because silence is the accepted, “legalized” default communication pattern within that group.
Think about your mama. Your grandpa. Your aunties. Your uncles. Your second-cousin twice removed. Do they freely share their calling, desires and gifts with the world? Or do they suffer an unfulfilling life in silence? Or believe it’s better to keep their mouths sealed in order to keep the peace?
If any of those types of belief and behavior patterns are at work in your inner circle… congratulation. They are probably all operating under an unspoken (ha!) contract of silence. And you just broke the contract… which makes you the “offender.”
3) Move past believing you need support from this group.
Many women I speak with don’t really know who’d they’d be if their family and friend group faded to the backdrop. It’s true: in many ways these relationships have defined our lives. So much so, that we are not sure we can survive without these people being in our lives
But can I say on the authority of personal experience and watching the experience of hundreds of other women? You will survive. Not only that, but if you open up your hands to release this group… you’ll have open hands to receive a circle of wildly enthusiastic, supportive friends who admire your vocal courage and really, deeply listen to what you have to say.
If you feel stuck in any area of your personal journey when it comes to self-expression, art, creativity, or advocating for what you want… look deeper. Very often you are subconsciously waiting for someone you love to approve. Release that need, and you’ll feel a huge burden lifted off of you plus lots of momentum to move forward.
4) Notice who’s actually talking and supporting you.
A client said this to me recently, and it was a huge ah-ha for her that helped her really move forward: “I was so busy paying attention to which of my family members didn’t support my words that I failed to notice all the people showing up to support them.”
That’s a good word, y’all. What you focus on will most definitely grow. So if the movie in your mind is pretty much just a news reel of all the “awkward silence” at the last family gathering, or the conspicuous lack of comments on your latest posts… it’s time to hit pause.
Start a new reel—one that plays back all the supportive comments you just got from people you barely know or haven’t spoken with in a long time. Let this reel become the dominant movie in your mind. And you’ll start to see that you really aren’t alone as you feel.
5) Let new family, new friends & new fans come to you in this season.
I said earlier that you often cannot take certain people with you on your journey. But the opposite of this is also true: as you use your God-given voice, you’ll attract new people on your journey. I know, I know. You perhaps have never had another inner circle than the one that’s now giving you the “silent treatment.” But can I promise you from my own experience and deep conviction? There is another inner circle out there for you.
On my journey, my inner circle has evolved multiple times. During certain years it would change every couple of months because I was growing so rapidly! A mentor once told me, “Lisa Maria, you grow more in one year than most people do in decades.” If that statement is accurate (and I suspect it is), then it’s no wonder my inner circle changed so often at certain times.
Now that I’m at a fairly stable level of consistent, courageous communication… my inner circle changes very little. It expands to let new friends in. But it isn’t contracting as people bail or drop off. (Or simply fade out due to their silence and the distance they enforce.) People know who I am—and they either want to be close to me, or they don’t.
Losing people won’t be the sum total of your experience. It will be just one small part of the overall crazy BIG gains you’re making as you step into your real self whom God created you to be. And if someone doesn’t want to support your most authentic comments… were they ever really the right person to be in your life anyway?
It’s time for a new circle, my friend.
Stop looking at the old one and wanting them to get on board before you take off into the future. You don’t have to cut those people off, or behave badly toward them. Just don’t expect them to come along with you… or expect anything at all, for that matter. You’ll save yourself so much grief!
Life gets really simple, our baggage gets light, and our opportunities for growth increase, when we let people be where they are… and give ourselves the permission we’re seeking to move forward as fast as we want to.
God’s support, and your own commitment to who He has called you to be, are all you need to keep moving forward.
Do that, and the right people will fall in step beside you—every single time.
Hugs and blessings!