I’m finally finding my voice. Wait, you need to read that with the correct emphasis. It’s not “I’m finally finding my VOICE.” Rather, “I’m finally finding MY voice”. See the difference? Because I didn’t for the past 40 years. Allow me to explain.
I’ve always been outspoken, gregarious, extroverted, and some might say loud. Ok, Ok, I’m loud. I’ve never had an issue with voicing thoughts, jokes, opinions. My problem has been the authenticity behind my words. More specifically, the lack of authenticity. You see I know how to play to the room. I’m an expert at saying what everyone else is thinking. I’m so tuned in to the group dynamic that I can zero in on what will make the conversation flow, keeping everyone happy. To the outside eye, this makes me intuitive, understanding, and a great conversationalist. But to my insides, this is exhausting. It’s exhausting to take on the emotional well-being of an entire room. In order to focus on external cues, I’ve had to sacrifice internal cues. It’s impossible to keep up with both. And until this past year, I honestly had no idea I was functioning this way. Because this is how I was raised.
Growing up, my “role” within my family was peace-keeper. It was quite an adult role to take on as a child, but there you have it. All of my energy was spent making my parents happy with me, with my sister, and with each other. This made me the good kid, the rule-follower, the dependable one. If I ever voiced a contrary opinion, or veered away from my peace-keeping role, there was hell to pay. Screaming, fighting, punishing. So you can see how I was trained early on to remain agreeable.
As I grew up, my subconscious continued to play this role within my family, but also with friends and colleagues. To a big extent, it’s served me well. I did well in school, have many friends, have a successful career, and am generally well-liked. An A+ report card for life if you will. So if everything seems happy all around me, then I must be happy, right?
My soul hasn’t been happy. It’s been ignored–completely shut out. The report card for my true self is an F. A big ol fail. Thus this new focus on MY voice. What do I want? What do I feel? What do I think? For the first time in my life I’m looking for answers internally, not externally. And it’s a fascinating journey. There is so much in me that I’m discovering. For example, I’ve recently learned, that if I voice my authentic opinion on a topic, and others disagree, that’s OK. In fact, not only is it OK, it’s not my responsibility to take on how they feel about it. It’s their job. (Bye-bye peace keeper!) I’m also figuring out the more honest I am with others and my self, the more free I feel. Not worrying about how everyone else in the room is feeling, has freed up my soul. I’m experiencing a lightness from within and I like it.
Not everyone in my life likes this new me, and that’s taking some time to figure out. I’ve lost some friendships along the way and key relationships in my life are shifting. But that’s OK. The more sure I am of my self the more sure I am that the deep meaningful connections in life will brave this storm with me. As I continue to be authentic, discover my true purpose, and use MY voice, those who can keep up with me will. And those who can’t will fall away. Thus is life…or so I’m learning.