FINDING YOUR VOICE AND KNOWING WHEN TO SPEAK—OR NOT
Ever since I was a little girl, I have had the courage to speak out. Sometimes this was encouraged and applauded and unfortunately, sometimes, my verbal candor was frowned upon. Ok fine, yes, my mother told me more than once, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” And yet I felt the need to share every thought that ever entered my racing mind.
My favorite phrase to blurt out was a quote from the movie Beaches. Imitating Bette Midler, I would say, “Well, enough about me. Tell me, what do you think about me?” Then I would laugh loudly at myself and my audience would join me in laughter. Notice, I said, my audience. That was my problem and I did not even realize it. I was waiting for my audience’s response. Instead of listening to others, I was listening to myself and waiting for the applause.
As I have gotten older and hopefully a little wiser, I have learned that the most important part of finding my voice, was to quiet my inner show off and listen more. Revelation! It is not all about me, the world does not revolve around only me. And that my dear readers, is how I have found my true voice.
Ironically, I found my voice by shutting my mouth! And by shutting my mouth and opening my heart, I have learned quite a few important things. By not speaking out so quickly, I have learned to listen slowly. And this has been a gift that I can give to others. By quieting my own ego, I can focus more on the other person and listen to them more. After all, everyone wants to be heard.
I have also learned that by quieting my own chattiness, I can live more in the moment. I can appreciate the sights and sounds of my surroundings. I can appreciate my cat purring contentedly by my side. I can appreciate the smell of my morning coffee that I dust with cinnamon. I can appreciate the sound of my washing machine churning as it cleans my clothes.
Yes, I have found my voice and I have realized that for me, my voice was sometimes a little overwhelming and a little too self-serving. And that my dear readers, is how I found my true voice!
Photo by Maria Krisanova on Unsplash