A few years ago, I embarked on a renewed mission — to find my true voice. This mission was a highly introspective exploration of my past and I knew it was me doing something for myself.
The People-Pleasing Voice
I had been trying to find my real voice for the longest time, over decades. Along the way, I had to stop. Life’s essentials got in the way. The parent has a huge responsibility and I was doing my duty. The rat-race drew me in for many years. I was like a zombie, eating, sleeping and working.
But, there was something even bigger that impeded my progress as a significant voice. Something deep-rooted. Something that stretched back to my childhood.
It was the desire for approval. For affirmation. I needed to be the ‘nice’ one, so everyone would like me. I did this despite the personal toll it would take on me and my future personal growth. Now, as we all know, no one is liked by everyone. I was foolish to be ‘nice’ no matter what was thrown at me. I had imposed that persona on myself.
The Early Years Without a Voice
In addition, I was not being loud enough to be heard. I was usually so quiet and self-doubting, that when I did finally choose to speak, people did not take me seriously. How did the age gap between myself and my siblings and spending hours by myself affect me?
Without siblings to talk to because they had moved away, had this influenced my ability to articulate my perspective? I examined all these aspects without resentment. I just needed to figure out how to ultimately, transform into this person who had the freedom, without fear of judgment, to speak my truth effectively.
Other Loud Voices
During my childhood and beyond, I spent years listening to people who had to have their say and had to be heard over everyone else. I was the ‘listener’, for the most part.
I gradually got tired of the occasional individuals who needed to speak and never put thought into what they had to communicate. The person who never considers the feelings of others. The loud, opinionated and domineering individual.
The Voice Emerges
Then, as if my struggle wasn’t real enough, I began telling people what I thought, much more often, even if I really intended to be silent. It was as if, in an almost physical reaction, my mouth would just open and I would say my piece. This event would then be followed by much discomfort from the recipient, even outrage because my role was to listen. Very inconvenient. I had been appointed the resident listener and for me to suddenly switch roles was uncalled for.
There were also those I met who felt they were superior to me and thus, there was no need for me to do anything but listen and agree. But that habit of giving my opinion, after much thought, even if it was contrary, kept growing and growing. I could not stop.
The Voice Empowers
I now realize, that the reason the journey had taken so long was actually self-censorship. It was the thorn in my side that dug into my creative flow and my ability to fully express myself. I am aware that I must not use my voice in bitterness or vengefulness because it muddies the message and clarity of my voice and particularly, my writer’s voice. However, silence is not an option.
You see, there are so many of us, in the middle, who really aren’t saying what needs to be said. We need to neutralize the voices of those who lack wisdom and humility. They cannot stop talking to further selfish, even harmful, agendas.
In the process these same people are creating a negative and hateful world. They mistake our silence for weakness and think we lack power. If there is a vacuum of opinion, it will suck in whatever voice is floating around outside it. We have drawn a line in the sand and the extremely opinionated have crossed this line.
If we truly want to create a better world for ourselves and for future generations, we need to find our voices. We need to speak up and call out the liars, the bullies and the domineering haters.
If you, like me, have restrained yourself, you know the world needs to hear you now. You could impact change regardless of how small it is. Our collective voices could mobilize a powerful shift and really be a force for good. Will you join me? Let’s be a force for real, meaningful change.
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