Are you a mouse or a lion? I remember growing up and hearing someone ask me that question during a time when I was being bullied. Of course I couldn't answer the question because I felt like a mouse, but knew I was supposed to act like a lion. So I could only look up into the older person's face blankly with tears in my eyes. Instinctually, I knew if I could learn to be a lion I wouldn't be bullied anymore. Of course, the person did not tell me HOW to act like a lion, so I only walked away from the experience more confused and full of shame for not knowing how be a lion.
A few years later, I was standing at attention in a new police uniform surrounded by my superiors who were all simultaneously yelling at me and giving me orders to do something, or answer their questions, or well, honestly to this day I have no idea what I did that set them all off. I was overwhelmed and fear clouded my mind as I tried to focus and address each accusation, order, and directive and I felt once again like that little girl who was being bullied. I still hadn't learned how to be a lion.
In therapy, I teach my clients how to be lions. I offer them a means of finding their truth, and then show them how to own it, embrace it, and roar it. Yes, I show them how to ROAR like a lion. Sometimes, my adult clients feel foolish as they quietly give a purr attempt and I get animated and tell them to ROOOAAAAARRRRR. They say it a little louder as they feel self-conscious in my little office. I tell them to put a pillow over their face and scream a true roar and they do. When they pull the pillow away from their face, they are smiling. Their eyes are clear and there is something different in their expression. They have found their voice. They have belief in their truth and are more confident to speak it.
So, I ask you, are you a mouse or a lion? If the answer squeaks out, you know what you must do...Years ago, I found my truth. Back on the grinder in uniform again, I stood taller, spoke more confident, and ROARED my truth through my words and actions. I was not going to be bullied again. And you know what, the bullies left me alone.
Don't just speak your truth, ROAR your truth.