Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finding Your True Voice

We live in a culture that teaches us to be quiet and not speak up from an early age. Children are taught to "be seen but not heard." When a parent or teacher feels a child is taking up too much space, they are often told to be quiet or more crudely, to "shut up." These kinds of messages stifle our hearts and souls and keep us from growing and evolving into a true, purposeful and happy self.

In reality, not only do we need to find our voice to fully express and connect with self and others, but also others need to hear what we have to say to connect with self and others as well.

Here are 8 things we need to find our true voice:

1. Emotional safety: When emotional safety is present, we can feel and access our deeper sensations, emotions and thoughts. Emotional safety allows us to drop our defenses and dig deep into the root of who we are. When we are in touch with that deeper sense somatically and emotionally, voice, including words, follow.

2. Awareness that voice is a key capacity--something to find and have: Kids need to hear the message that voice is a critical capacity. Adult women and men need to be encouraged to find their voice and speak it out loud. Learning to find and use your voice is at least as important as learning to use a spreadsheet or read and write.

3. Patience: It takes time to find our voices and patience to be present with what is there. Patience creates spaciousness and relaxation which helps us feel our deeper thoughts and feelings.

4. Introspection: Learning to slow down, meditate, go inside, journal and reflect help us connect with our deeper self and what we really have to say.

5. A climate of non-judgment: When we judge ourselves or feel judged, we often censor our true feelings and thoughts. This leads to suppressing our true voice rather than expressing it.

6. Focusing on what you feel, not just what you think: Our deeper voice lies in the heart, including feelings, sensations and deeper experiences that the mind or brain may not be able to access.

7. Having permission to feel all your feelings, and embrace them as human: There are no "bad feelings" really. Anger, pain and fear are just as human as joy and happiness. If you suppress some of your feelings, including intense ones, it is hard to feel your wholeness as a human being.

8. Learning to trust your heart: Because our culture often lacks emotional safety, we often become afraid to listen and follow our hearts. It is actually the heart that helps us find our true voice and vision and therefore take meaningful action.

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