Do you have difficulty knowing who you are and what you stand for?
Have you been dismissed and ignored?
Did you get the message that what you had to say wasn’t interesting or worth listening to?
Did you feel like what you had to say wasn’t good enough?
If you answered “Yes”, there’s no doubt that you’ve had challenges finding and using your voice. You may have been humiliated or punished as a child. You may have been taught that what you had to say wasn’t worthwhile.
Whether you were told to shut up or whether it was implied by your parents, teachers or another authority figure, a friend or boyfriend, you know you’re ready to find and use your voice.
Some of the typical things that women have been told are:
“Be seen, not heard.” which means you have to look good and be perfect.
“Be lady like.” :which means don’t be speak up: be quiet.
“Silence is golden.”
Maybe you were told to:
“Hold your tongue”
“Shut your trap”
“Shut your face”
“Put a lid on it”
What happens to girls who get the message that what they have to say is not important?
They end up like you. Feeling like men are more important and that women should just listen.
They end up like you, feeling powerless, because not having a voice leaves you invisible. They end up like you, having a fake front and accommodating everyone.
At the Royal Foundation Forum, Meghan Markle said:
“I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s’ empowerment,” Markle started. “You’ll often hear people say well, you’re helping women find their voices. And I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they have a voice. They need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing so many campaigns—I mean, #MeToo and TimesUp—there’s no better time than [now] to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them…It [the spotlight] makes such a tremendous difference.”
I really like what Meghan said. She has an excellent point. There are many women who have a voice and don’t feel heard. Are you one of those women?
And, there are many women like you who do need to find their voice.
Can you imagine how you’ll feel when you can be yourself, speak up and be heard?
One of the most important needs you have is to be known. What you have to say allows another to be in your world and understand you.
You matter. Your experience and viewpoint are unique to you. Sharing it can make a difference in your life and in the life of others.
What you have to say is a contribution to the Conversation.
The greatest form of intimacy is communication.
Tell your story.
Here are some ways that you can get started with finding your voice.
1. Self Discovery
Take some time to reflect on who you are.
How are you feeling?
Ask yourself, “What do I want”?
“What do I need?
If beginning to look at who you are doesn’t work for you then….
2. Identify the current situation
Look at what you don’t like about what’s happening in your life and come up with the opposites. You may see yourself through this different perspective. If I don’t like______, then that means I like________.
If I’m not_________, then I might be_______.
Give it a shot!
3. Get to your Why
Why do you want to find your voice? Do this process:
Take out some paper and write:
What about finding my voice is important to me?
Then take whatever the answer was to the question above and use it to fill in the blank for the next time you ask:
What about________________is important to me?
Continue with this process 7 times and you will get to a deeper understanding of yourself. This understanding is meaningful and supports your moving forward.
4. What obstacles will you face if you claim and use your voice?
Consider what might get in the way of you moving forward with finding and using your voice. It could be some fear of rocking the boat since you’d be doing something different. Maybe you think people won’t take you seriously.
5. Write your own rules
Whose rules are you living by? How have you lost yourself in following someone else’s guidelines, that didn’t allow you to have a voice?
Can you come up with a set of rules that are in synch with who you are and what you stand for?
6. Whose approval is most important to you?
How have you sacrificed yourself to get approval from others?
How is avoiding disapproval getting in the way of you finding your voice?
7. Own your story
Love and respect yourself as you identify what you’ve gone through. This challenge will lead you to accepting yourself.
You will no longer feel the need to prove yourself to anyone.
8. Accept Yourself
You may be the one telling yourself to shut up. Stop judging and criticizing yourself so that you will stop shutting yourself down.
9. Be true to yourself
What are your priorities? What are your values?
What will it take for you to live in alignment with your values.
Commit to living to what’s important to you
10. Try it on: Use your imagination
Try a rehearsal. Practice using your voice while talking to the person/people you’d like to speak up with.
If you need a little inspiration try Brene Brown’s Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted from her book Rising Strong.
Read this out loud!
Use your voice!
Live true to yourself!
There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers Than those of us who are willing to fall Because we have learned how to rise.
With skinned knees and bruised hearts; We choose owning our stories of struggle, Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.
When we deny our stories, they define us. When we run from struggle, we are never free. So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.
We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.
We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings.
We craft love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure.
Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and brokenhearted. We are rising strong.
Here’s to you reclaiming your voice!
Mary Guay is a Certified Professional Coach and Certified Story Coach who works with women like you!
Reach out now!
Mary’s looking forward to helping You Find Your Voice! Let her know how The 10 Ways has made a difference for you.
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