First, let’s talk about what your voice really is. It is not the voice in your head or the voice others expect of you. I’m talking about the voice that comes from deep inside of you. It rises up into your awareness and tells you what you need – how you feel – what you desire. It’s your own authentic expression.
It’s not easy to express this voice. It reveals your insides to the world. People really see YOU – not the facade of success, achievement, or a position of power. It’s much easier to hide behind the intellect, logic, or to state facts.
To speak the voice that lives inside of you, you must first know yourself as truly worthy of being seen.
For me, it was nearly impossible to speak up for myself. As a bulldog in a skirt criminal prosecutor, I was an expert advocate for everyone else. My job was to give voice to the voiceless. I had no problem getting up in front of a courtroom full of people to present a legal case. In fact, it thrilled me. I loved arguing before a jury.
But here’s the thing. They weren’t seeing me. Who I am. They were listening to legal facts, case law, evidence. I wasn’t required – or even allowed – expose anything personal about myself. If they rejected the case, it was based on the evidence. They weren’t rejecting me.
Do you see the difference?
In my personal life, it was a different story. Every time I tried to speak up for myself, I nearly froze. It was as if a lump existed in my throat, and no words were allowed to escape. Trying to put voice to my innermost feelings was nearly impossible.
It required me to expose myself. To be seen. To subject myself to judgment, rejection, abandonment. Because our voice makes us visible.
So, when it comes to reclaiming our voice, we must face the fear of being seen. Deeply seen. Truly seen. Not for your mind or facts you’re spouting off. But your insides. The most vulnerable parts of you.
Do you find it difficult to tell someone they have hurt you?
What about expressing to your partner your deep desires in the relationship?
If you have an employer, when was the last time you asked for a raise?
When you express the voice that lives deep inside of you, you reveal what’s in your heart.
It’s powerful because it makes your insides – who you really are and your internal experience – visible to the outside world. It can feel scary as f*ck.
You can only hear this internal voice in the silence. Which is, quite frankly, why it’s easier to keep yourself distracted, reading or listening to something else. The inner voice shows us our pain and soulful longings. Your mind is full of beliefs, ideas, expectations, and demands that were put there by other people. It usually says what other people want to hear, or what would make us look good, perfect, invulnerable.
Your inner voice lies beneath the conditioned mind. It rises up from your womb. Your belly. Your heart. Often, it comes in the form of a silent whisper. A deep longing. A felt sense.
When you feel it, acknowledge it to yourself. Let it know you’re listening. Too often, we push down our feelings because we deem them inconsequential, in the way, or bothersome. We tell ourselves, “it doesn’t matter,” “I’m okay,” or “I don’t have time for that.”
And so we live from the head up – unaware of the parts of us that live down below. It’s what we’ve been conditioned to do because society has decided feelings are weak and unimportant. Growing up, I always heard how “weak” women were because they showed emotion, so I vowed to show how strong I was by not feeling. It required me to harden my heart, which really just closed it off to myself.
Historically, women have been denied a voice precisely because it makes us visible. We were supposed to remain invisible because we were deemed unworthy of being seen.
This wound of unworthiness remains in our bodies. It disconnects us from our throats. For millennia it was not safe to express ourselves. Millions of women around the globe were literally killed for it. Many still are.
Those memories remain in our subconscious minds. We don’t speak our truth because we’re afraid of the consequences.
Consider why you hold back your tongue.
Three common fears I have seen in women I coach – and in myself – are:
(1) Fear of conflict: “They’ll get upset if I say that, and I don’t want to deal with their anger or hostility.”
(2) Fear of rejection: “They won’t understand me anyway, or they’ll think I’m just blowing things out of proportion. Best to stay quiet.”
(3) Fear of abandonment: “But if I tell him those things, he’ll just leave me.”
Can you see the root of each of them?
It’s the fear of not belonging. Of being cast out of love. Of being left alone.
What if we just took a moment to honor this part of ourselves? The part of us that wants to feel safe. The woman who desires to be loved. It’s beautiful – this desire for connection. To be held.
This desire is not a problem.
However, the kind of belonging that requires you to stay small and hide yourself isn’t really belonging at all.
While seeking to avoid rejection by another, we reject ourselves. We might save them from conflict, but we’ll continue to experience internal conflict and resentment if we never share our truth or how their actions affected us. When we abandon ourselves in the hopes another won’t abandon us, we lose ourselves completely. We go away. We disappear. We become invisible.
It becomes all about the other. What they think, feel, and want. Because what we’re really saying – and believing – is, “You are more worthy than me.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can reclaim the power of your voice when you decide you are worthy of being seen. When you decide that your voice matters – and your feelings matter – because YOU matter.
It’s not easy to bypass thousands of years of conditioning and survival fears, but it is possible. The first step is to create internal emotional safety.
It’s being willing to take care of yourself no matter what. To hold yourself in love and honor your internal experience. To accept what you feel. To forgive yourself when you stay silent. To be willing to face external rejection because you refuse to reject yourself anymore. To honor every part of yourself even when no one else can. Because you know love exists inside of you, and no one can take this away.
This is about developing an intimate relationship with your Self so that you feel safe being seen because you have your own back.
The second step is to place yourself equal to the other – whether it be your partner, a friend, coworker or boss.
You recognize their needs and feelings as worthy AND you recognize your needs and feelings as worthy. Yours are not inferior because YOU are not inferior. Theirs are not more important because they are not more important than you. You are both worthy. Both of you deserve to be seen. Both of you deserve to be heard. Both of you deserve to be honored. Don’t cast yourself out or put yourself underneath. This creates the possibility of true, authentic connection so you are seen for who you are – not for who others want you to be.
I’ll leave you with one practice you can start to do every day to ingrain this in your body-mind. Stand in front of a mirror and look into your eyes. Say three times: “I am worthy of being seen.” Really FEEL it. Know it. Let it sink deeply into your bones.
Because you are.
You are worthy of being seen.
Stay tuned for an upcoming free series and group program to Break the Eve Codes: Experience Soul Freedom in Relationships. Sign up below so you’ll be the first to know.