When you were a child, were you ever told: “Don’t say that; Keep that to yourself; Don’t ask embarrassing questions; That’s not nice to say.” If so, you were asked to hide your voice.
Over the years as a therapist, writer, and life coach, I have found that clients yearned to be true to themselves, express themselves, and share their heartfelt ideas. In other words, they wanted to use their voice.
Our voice is how we tell the world who we are. When we use our voice, we are uninhibited and curious about the world. We eagerly share whatever is on our mind. Unfortunately, our upbringing and culture often taught us to censor our voices and stop talking about what was going on within.
I grew up in a household where children should be seen but not heard. My own personal growth has been to find my voice and to help others find their voice. Interestingly, I have a range of voices. I can access my inner child’s voice, my adolescent rebel’s voice, my higher wisdom voice, my lover’s voice, or my writer’s voice.
Here are four simple steps to help you find your voice.
1. Create a safe space where you feel accepted without judgment. Journaling provides the opportunity to write and see what you’re thinking and feeling. Writing for the past 30 years has helped me discover my voice. A coach, therapist, or support group offers a non-judgmental audience for you to practice expressing yourself and being heard.
2. Identify your voice patterns so that you become aware of how you express yourself to the world. When you speak, notice when you become inhibited, combative, or open and honest. Notice also how you express your feelings, describe your needs, and make requests.
3. Ask three simple but powerful questions: 1) What am I feeling? Notice where you hold emotions in your body. 2) What do I need to say? Such as a thought, emotion, or unexpressed need or desire. 3) How can I say it? Using “I” statements establishes a strong voice.
4. Practice using your voice. Join a Toastmaster club to develop speaking skills and practice self-expression and vocal variety in a supportive environment. Honestly share more of yourself with friends.
I encourage you to find your voice, speak with heart and soul, and keep giving you until YOU is what the world wants. The world is waiting for your words!