You know this kind of person…. She is self-sufficient, well-functioning, and put together.
But….. she doesn't have a sense of herself, what she feels, or who she knows herself to be.
Maybe this is even you to a certain degree.
This is a person who has, at some point along the way, lost her voice.
If I look at a typical week in my work with clients I must comment on someone finding and using their voice several times a week. But what does that even mean? Of course, we all use our voice every day to communicate, but when I talk about finding and using your voice, you know it’s not about your audible sound.
We use our voice to be heard, make a statement, ask for what we need, and express who we truly are.
A lost voice
Do you find you tend to defer to others or second guess yourself much of the time?
Do you feel inhibited to show up and be seen for who you are?
Do you feel confident in owning your voice except for particular situations in which it is out of reach?
Many times, our voice has been hidden or shut down through particular life experiences. For instance, a child who grows up in a home where they are discounted and told their feelings aren’t real or true learns they cannot trust their own experiences. That others know better about them than they know about themselves.
If they feel strongly about something, they may begin to question themselves that perhaps they are just “making it up” or “making more of things” than are really true. This person has lost connection with their voice.
What does a lost voice look like?
This can show up in numerous ways:
- Second guessing self, lack of confidence
- Relationships are suffering
- Anxiety or depression are getting in the way
- Struggling to parent
- An unhealthy relationship with food, body and exercise
- Substance use
- Spending too much money
- Having an affair
- And more – you get the idea
Finding your voice
How do you find it when it seems lost?
Take on habits that help you become more self-reflective like journaling, meditating, talking to trusted others. Develop a routine of checking in with yourself throughout the day to have a sense of what you may be thinking and feeling. Scan your body to see if you are holding any tension anywhere that you may not be aware of.
Know your environment
Do you know if you feel safe with the person with whom you are speaking? Are they someone you trust to reveal your true self? Or do you need to develop a firm boundary with that person? Be aware that your boundary is to feel safe with a particular person and not being used as a defense in general to stay “hidden” with others.
Know your boundaries
Know where you stop and the other person begins. Be sure to not fall into unnecessary caretaking, deferring or giving in to another person.
Use it, own it and embrace it
– Your voice that is. Speak up when something doesn’t feel right to you, when you need to let someone know how you are doing or what you may need from them. Be authentic and present in your life, both with yourself and with others.
This is who you are, your true self. Show up, be seen and let your voice be heard.
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