What happens to our voice over time? Does it grow and develop, or does it fade? Did we ever have a voice at all?
How do we find our voice, perhaps the one that we had as a child, and then lost? Or, if we never had a voice, how do you find it, grow it, and use it, sublimely.
When I talk about voice, I’m not talking about venting, demanding, or screaming, which I have done my share of in my life.
What I know now is that my screaming was my out-of-control desperate attempt to be heard, which of course, failed miserably.
The loss of voice that I’m talking about is that tight, gasping-for-air feeling when you want to speak, and yet, fear literally takes your voice; you can’t speak, let alone breathe.
We come into this world with a voice.
As babies, our voices are pretty loud and clear; we cry when we need care, comfort, interaction, or sleep.
If our environment provides, we grow comfortable with continuing to ask for what we need as we enter childhood.
However, for many, something happens along the way that quiets our voice, or hushes it all together.
Perhaps we were yelled at, judged, harassed, teased, bullied or humiliated, or what we received in response to our voice was so utterly terrifying that we chose to never use our voices again; the risk of enduring such a response or reaction again was too great and the consequences too scary.
I hear, or not, loss of voice almost daily; people talk about issues and challenges that they are experiencing within relationships, and yet, when it comes to saying anything, they often respond with, “I’m too afraid to say anything. I don’t want to …”
Experience has taught me that the “I’m too afraid,” is often associated with the consequences of speaking truth, such as conflict, rejection, abandonment, anger…consequences of previous encounters that did not turn out well or childhood experiences that continue to linger; in both instances, the past is controlling the present.
We allow the past to hold our voice hostage by assuming that the current relationship or experience will yield the same results.
Of course it might, and in some cases, using voice can be risky and dangerous, especially in abusive relationships. Yet, people’s reactions to our voice are not about us.
[bctt tweet=”People’s reactions are not about me and you. People’s reactions are about them. ” username=”simplysagi”]
If use my voice in an attacking or hurtful way the other person’s reaction could be as much about me as them. As Miguel Ruiz inspires in the Four Agreements, use your words impeccably with self and with others.
My voice continues to be a work in progress. It’s a practice.
Somehow I lost it growing up, or never had it, and even though family often described me as a chatterbox, my voice never shared my truth, my soul.
I grew up smiling, agreeing, and saying whatever alleviated conflict, arguments, and anger. The consequences of speaking my truth were too scary and still are in many ways.
However, as we all know, there is no truth in always agreeing and remaining silent.
Settling for agreement and silence is avoidance, which over time erodes the soul, the spirit; it also breeds resentment and bitterness.
I’m not saying that we need to always disagree and never be silent; as always, balance is a key as is deciding which mountains to climb.
Some interactions and exchanges are better left alone; for those encounters, I prefer to walk away and find stillness.
What I’m talking about is the bigger picture of voice within relationships and encounters, and feeling open to using voice in a growth-fostering way instead of a fearful avoiding way.
Writing helps me grow my voice. The more I write, the stronger my voice feels and the more open I am to sharing my voice in face-to-face encounters; it helps me sort through my thoughts and feelings, get clear, and feel more confident when I choose to share my truth with others.
Clear, authentic communication does not always come easy and much like everything else is a practice.
I started blogging as an extension of my writing practice. Is it a risk? Huge! Yet, as the days and weeks unfold, I feel increasingly okay with putting my writing, my voice out there for the world to read.
I’m discovering my truth by consistently writing, clarifying, and as Leo Babauta expresses, “chiseling my voice.”
The more I shape and mold my voice, the clearer my thoughts become in those encounters when I want or need to speak my truth, authentically, sublimely.
No matter how you grow your voice, you must grow it. You deserve to be heard. Our voices have the capability of changing our lives and the lives of those around us.
Sending you inspiration,