A couple years ago as I worked in my rock garden, a bee settled on my arm and plunged its poisoned arrow into my flesh. Ever the girl scout, I whipped out my Swiss Army knife, opened it, and scraped the pulsating venom injector off my arm, without even a thought I might cut myself!
My internal commander, with or without the knowledge I’d been diagnosed ‘fatally allergic to bee stings’ screamed “STOP.” Easy enough to do. In a setting in which uncensored smarts call the shots.
But without apparent life or death at stake, we receive prompts to “remove the sting.” especially writers, or speakers and edu-tainers of any stripe.
There are two conditions we’re presented daily in which we can reduce paralyzation and edema by excising the stinger.
They’re both rooted in fear.
One is the fear of asking too much. the other is the fear of being asked too much. I’ll illustrate.
In the 80’s I was selling pre-need burial plots. Early in my training, the boss went with me and listened as I explained the plans and showed the glossy photos. When it came time to say the price, he shouted, “Four hundred dollars!” I jumped, startled by his volume. He said later he was deliberately trying to scare me, but what I believe to this day is that by expressing the rate so confidently, he removed the potential for squirming by the clients. He extracted the stinger.
Two decades later I still offer things to people. For money. Sales. OK, there. I said it. I pronounce what they expect to hear, or what they don’t expect, then explain it. But the first pronunciation clears the way for what comes next.
Yet sometimes I’m on the other side of the fence. I’m the one from whom too much is asked. I did not expect to be growing old while everyone around me is 30 years older. They’re supposed to be the older people, not I! Nor did I expect to have weeks of no online sales when my daily In Box recites days of “$87,000 in 24 hours” from some other Internet marketer.
Forcing into words my reality, especially when it differs from the co-conspired norm, reduces its pain, like fingering a wound to see where the tenderness stops.
If I admit my wrist is hurting, does it hurt more, or less? That depends. If I am afraid that this ache means something not good, saying it aloud lessens the sting just as much as shouting $400 will make a family eager to pay $200.
If I say aloud how much it hurts, but the medical significance is nothing, I guarantee the wrist will hurt more until I can barely survive.
The best advice I can give you is “Say what needs to be said.” If it hurts, that’s because you’re removing the stinger.