Self Development | Find your voice and be heard
A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult – Melinda Gates
At some point all of us have watched a female taking the stage (publicly or in our inner circle) and speak on issues like femininity, inclusivity, rights for women, religion or whatever topic and we were in awe about the comfort with which she was communicating. We as women often do not share our experiences or values because of fear – but it is a fear born from within.
We do not want to be labelled as “frustrated women” or we do not want to feel that we ae being judged. But finding your voice and speaking your truth is so important (www.girlsgonestrong.com).
So, what does finding your voice mean?
Our voices are more powerful than we know – they can give support to a belief or clear up misunderstandings. Our voice can guide people. But it is more than just being willing to speak up in uncomfortable situations – it opens doors for you to embrace your unique difference, empower yourself and expand creative and innovative thinking (Laleh Hancock, thebusinesswomanmedia.com).
Where to start finding your voice:
It is important to first confirm the following:
- What am I enthusiastic about?
- What are the things I am scared to say?
- Am I fearful that I will not communicate well?
- Am I worried about my level of expertise?
- Am I worried about what people will think?
Once you have answered these questions and confirmed your values and beliefs, you are ready to start engaging and sharing your truth. Oprah says that “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
There are several self-help articles and exercises you can visit. We found the following tips to help develop this skill.
- Be assertive and confident. Sit/stand up straight, with both feet on the floor and make direct eye contact. This grounds you and sends the message that you unapologetically own who you are. Your quirks, personality, point of view and experiences make you who you are. We should not be afraid to expose our real, vulnerable self – remember that social media should never be the benchmark! Everything there seems perfect because it is polished to perfection!
- Effectively express yourself and be influential. Know when to speak up and when to Listen. Finding your voice, ironically, can be about knowing when to be quiet. Decide what the impact is you want to make and then how you will communicate this.
- Draw a line in the sand. Sometimes we must take on difficult discussions, but you need to have an opinion. Being in a neutral state has never moved us anywhere – so spend time to formulate your opinion. Think of the “what else” opportunities you can explore and do not focus on your fear of getting it right, saying the right things and to avoid the wrong reaction. Stimulate your creative thinking and expand your curiosity by exploring what else you could consider, what ideas you must solve a problem and what you know that you can contribute.
- Stand up for your worth and value. To truly have your voice, use it without judging it. Do not second-guess your thoughts and ideas. Don’t hold back on your ability to contribute to others. Lelah says “Don’t assume anyone knows better or more than you do – they just know different! “Holding back also has an impact on your mental and physical health because you bottle up stress, emotions and tension that can leave to diseases and pain.
Make this a personal goal in 2022 to find your voice! Let yourself be heard – the world is entitled to your opinion.