The Importance of Recognizing and Using Your Voice
In a world of seven billion voices, it’s easy to go unheard.
As strange as it sounds, we sometimes forget to listen to our own voices in the mix.
When I first started college, I was a wreck (insert the “mhms” and “me toos”).
College was not an easy time for me for many different reasons.
I was wrestling with a lot emotionally and I usually felt alone. While a lot of this was because of my own choices, I still wanted to be heard; I needed to know I had a voice.
I started going to therapy my 2nd year of college. There were demons I needed to face and I was tired of carrying them all by myself.
I’ll never forget that year of sessions. I’ll start by saying that my therapist was exceptional. She helped me learn more about myself in one year than I had known about myself 19 years beforehand.
In turn, she was also the first person who gave me honest and open space for my voice.
She taught me how to recognize my own voice and understand its importance to myself and others.
When we’d be working through particular instances in my childhood, she’d ask me “Where do you feel that?”
Where do I feel that?
Yes, when you are explaining what happened. When you’re describing the room and the people in it, where do you feel those emotions?
I had never thought about it like that before.
That weird large thing I felt in my throat normally just told me I was on the verge of losing it. I never thought that maybe that gut-wrenching “I’m going to puke, yell, or both” feeling actually meant I had more to say.
I wasn’t done expressing myself.
Once she helped me realize this, my life was forever changed.
Not only was I able to recognize where that particular part of me was coming from, but I finally understood why.
The physical relationship we have with our voices allows us the option to use our voice as a tool or a weapon.
If we feel like we have the space and opportunity to be heard, it is good for us, and others, to express ourselves.
If we don’t feel like we have the space or if we feel like someone doesn’t care to listen, that can either:
a. turn something fairly benign into a violent episode OR
b. it can become something we hold onto that prevents us from growing in other ways
As an adult, I can see how not being heard has affected people from all over the world.
Violence, anger, profanity, and abuse of all shapes and forms don’t normally show up out of the blue.
They come from a place dark and deep within us. They insidiously creep up and, at some points, take over.
I can’t help but believe that if we provided a truly safe place for voices that have been lost, we would be living in a very different world.
If we’re going to create a world in which we express ourselves in a healthy way, we first need to learn how to do that ourselves.
But it starts with you and me.
Our perspectives and experiences, not only shape us in our lives, but they pave a path for those that come after us. Just think of religious persecution and racism, to name a couple.
As much as we want to deny it, those behaviors and processes of thought are ideas that have been passed down through the generations.
Sometimes, we feel a certain way about someone or a group of people and we don’t really know why; we just know that’s how to feel about it. It’s been passed down. It’s an inherited idea or feeling.
When you learn to recognize your own voice, you can start to use it honestly and in a way that resonates with who you are. Not who you’re told to be.
And when you start to speak and share yourself in an authentic way, you eventually find that you meet others who feel and believe things similarly to you.
If you don’t believe me, you can always Google it.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode of Mine Space Over Coffee where we’ll delve deeper into Voice.