Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Give Your Words a Voice

When you have something to say, do you just say it? Or do you mull things over, wishing you would say it? 

If you are one who thinks what you say, and says what you think, you are my hero. I have watched people like you with such adoration, even those who speak roughly, without much apparent forethought, appreciating their candor and honesty.

I tend to be a muller. And a numb-er (as in, one who numbs uncomfortable feelings with physical activities like hiking, or overeating). In the past, when thoughts have troubled me, rather than release them by giving them a voice, I've kept them to myself. 

Those words demand attention, though, and present themselves in other ways when unspoken. Movements become abrupt and sharp. Muscles tense, eyes squint, jaw tightens, fists clench. Since the authentic words have no voice, false words are substituted, but their delivery falls flat, having no substance behind them. 

False words? You may recognize them.

"Let's do what you want; I don't care."

"Everything is okay."

"I'm fine."

My theme song lately is Sara Bareilles' song "Brave." (Found in the YouTube link above.)  I wanted so much to find my own brave, to learn to speak my truth, and to own my voice. I have lived in fear of expressing myself for most of my life, mistaking my silence for good manners, and stoicism.

Here is one of my favorite verses in the song "Brave:"

Everybody’s been there,

Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty.
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue.

Bolstered by Sara's song, Brené's book, and Deepak Chopra's meditation, I am finding my brave. Last week, Deepak's words struck me during his meditation entitled, "My truth and creativity are within." 
"At times we may feel reluctant to express ourselves openly because we feel vulnerable or exposed, yet when we hold back, we limit our potential. Aligned with the flow of expression, we learn to access a deep and transformational way of being that goes beyond displaying our personality, style, or wit. We discover a way of being that communicates our essential truth through voice, behavior, and even through our quiet presence." 
Vulnerability. Ah, yes. The universe has been hitting me from another angle on this very topic by Brené Brown. It takes great courage to be vulnerable, Dr. Brown has been reminding me through her book, DARING GREATLY. When we are willing to be vulnerable, and determine our value to be courage, we will begin to live our life, honoring who we really are.

Deepak goes on to say... 
"Take time today to notice how you use your voice. Pay attention to the moments you speak your truth, and how you choose to express yourself throughout the day. Be aware of the certain reasons you have not to express yourself... Notice what you feel. Does your throat become tight as if the words are stuck there? ...It takes energy to restrict the natural flow of thoughts and feelings."

Yes, it does take energy to stop or restrain the flow of our thoughts and feelings. It is exhausting to hold our tongue, and deny a voice to our inner truth. 

I am willing to give up the discomfort my silenced voice causes me, in exchange for the courage of making myself heard. The allure of living in harmony with my thoughts, feelings, and actions is finally enough to entice me to speak. Each morning, I ask myself in what way will I dare myself to be brave. I have confronted tasks that I normally would have postponed, or ignored altogether. 

What I am finding is that while it takes courage to face our fears, it is quite freeing to meet them head-on. The key for me has been to approach these hard conversations from a place of peace, not turmoil or anger. If I set my intention to speak with love, my fears of conflict and potential turmoil are unfounded. 

In the ebb and flow of any discussion, we cannot predict or control the reaction of anyone else; we can only keep checking ourselves to be sure that we are honoring our truth by giving it voice, and doing our best to speak with conviction and love.

When we dare greatly, we are blessed greatly. What a concept. By facing our greatest fears, by choosing courage, we liberate ourselves when our actions reflect our thoughts and feelings. Tension fades, anxiety evaporates, and peace is restored. 

Let yourself be heard. Face your fears with courage, and live the life you were meant to live.

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