How do we find our own voice in a world where so many voices seem to weigh in?
Many of us have lived under the weight of what others have chosen for us for so long that we don’t even know whose voice we’re following. Is it ours? Is it theirs? And who are “they” anyway?
Perhaps we don’t even realize that we aren’t actually listening to our voice because it’s been so long since we’ve heard our voice for what it is. Maybe we have never heard it because it was stifled so early on, we don’t even know what having our own voice- our own opinion- looks like.
There is no secret here. While I don’t have the magic answer, or the “How to Find Your Voice Cheat Sheet,” what I do know is that it requires a lot of listening, first. Listening to yourself.
Like really listening to your intuition, trying to pinpoint the moment when your voice rises up, and before it becomes stifled by the voices around you.
By the way- those “voices” take a lot of forms. Friends, co-workers, parents, siblings, children, pastors, teachers, spouses, media, your barista….should I go on? And it’s not like all of those voices are inherently wrong.
What I’m saying is that they just aren’t yours, and to live authentically, confidently, and whole we must have recognition of our own voice before we can side with (or in many cases, depart from) the voices of others.
How do you learn to listen to yourself when you haven’t heard yourself speak?
Notice the fear that rises when you feel pressured to have an answer. Notice the inadequacy you feel when you’ve made a mistake. Notice the way you speak to yourself on a daily basis. Notice the rage the comes forth when you feel the injustice of a situation. Notice the peace of doing what you enjoy. Notice the joy or excitement when everything goes just “right.” Simply, notice.
Then, stay curious.
What emotions are rising within you in the moment? Be curious about these emotions. What are they saying to you? Why here? Why now? If a sense of judgement (of yourself or others) rises, stay curious about that, too. Ultimately, judgement leads to disconnection. If we are able to stay present and curious- even to judgement that arises- we’ll remain in a connected space that allows for exploration of what more is happening in this moment.
Begin to breathe those moments in.
It might sound strange, but literally breathing into these moments helps you to center your thoughts and feelings in the here-and-now. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing anxiety and external “static” and increasing your ability to focus your attention to the feeling of being in your body, in that very moment.
And it may come as a surprise, but your voice happens to live right there in your body with you!
We can learn (or re-learn) to rest in the “enough-ness” of the voice that is our own by first taking the time to notice it, without judgement. Sometimes we can do this easily on our own. Sometimes, our voice has become so muddled that we don’t know where to start- that’s where the help of a professional can be of benefit.
Be patient. Hold compassion for yourself in this process. It takes time, intentional effort, and consistency, but you’ll find your voice again. I know you will.
There is a weight upon her, a pressure that’s unseen
A burden carried on her own, a yoke she can’t break free
There is a rage within her, a simmer down below
A space she dare not enter, a space you dare not go
There is a light within her, stifled, yet still there
A subtle, distant glimmer that soon shall be a flare
There is a heat within her – it radiates, it glows
A passion lying in the wait, its presence no one knows
There is a captivation, much more than meets the eyes
She’ll learn to call herself “enough,” imperfect, though she tries
There is a power within her, she calls on it by choice
A resonance with those like her, she calls her power…”voice”
There is a weight upon her, a rage that bubbles deep
A flare is sparked, which lights the dark, gives presence to the heat
Her captivation grips you- You thought you called her bluff,
But her power, “voice,” sustains her; She calls herself “enough.”Voice by Marrissa Rhodes