Have you ever felt that tightening in your throat when you’re dying to say what you really mean? Have you been in a situation where you want to speak up, but for some reason you can’t get the right words out? This use to happen to me a lot, and for days afterwards I would feel frustrated thinking ‘Why can’t I say what I want to say, when I want to say it!’
Finding my own voice, and using it to speak up, was something I had trained myself out of from a young age. I had the belief (and fear) that expressing opinions that went against family/social/cultural norms would isolate me. That saying what I truly felt might rock the boat, bringing on criticism and judgement from others that would chip away at my sense of confidence. That the way I expressed myself wasn’t good enough, intelligent enough, creative enough. And above all I was a people-pleaser, and when you’re busy pleasing everyone else you tend to shy away from voicing your own thoughts.
What happened – I fell into the trap of prioritising likability over speaking up. The cost – I sat on the sideline, and when you’re on the sideline your silence benefits everyone else BUT you.
I had to learn to juggle my ability to empathise and adapt around others YET still hold space to share my own opinions, and that using your voice isn’t about dismissing others needs and perspectives, it’s about seeing yours as just as important and taking full responsibility for how it’s expressed.
So, my invitation to you this week is this – start using your voice everyday. If like me, this brings up some initial resistance for you, below are some fun ways to start your journey.