The whole problem about Women’s Day is that we still are far away from the day when women can speak up without fear in any space….
When I speak about fear of speaking up, the fear I mention here is generated by the society at large (by society, I indicate fear that is induced by all genders). The need to adhere to conditions set by society or our loved ones may often drown out the very soul of one’s voice. This leads to unspoken dreams, needs, wants, desires….all lying within the layers of regret.
If you struggle to find your voice, let’s go through a checklist below:
Do you identify with any of these?
I don’t want to upset my family, so I better not speak up
I am afraid of my Manager, so I should keep quiet
I don’t know with whom I can share my pain with
I don’t know if I can speak up my mind without being judged
We all have had unspoken dreams at some point in life. As a woman, I also wished I had found my voice when an uncouth colleague was rude to me. I wished I could have taken a stand when I was bullied and body shamed in my childhood days. There are many things we can change and the good news is, you are reading this blog right now, and you are here to find your inner voice and initiate that change.
As we know it, the world is slowly waking up with awareness towards emotional wellness and healing. Women are now able to hold the mirror to themselves to understand how they can begin this change.
Let’s find out how to tune into your inner strength and find your voice in a noisy world.
6 Ways to Erase your Fears and Find your Voice
- Identify your needs: The inability to speak up to express emotions can be due to not knowing what you want in life. Our needs are buried under the wants and expectations of people around us. While a healthy consideration of each other is essential, there needs to be a fine balance in life. These needs are often suppressed by the very people we love. Therefore –
a. Make a list of your personal, career, and financial expectations
b. Set short term goals
c. Review these goals every couple of months
d. Discuss with someone close to you and begin finding your voice around these subjects
- Find your calm: It’s a noisy world that tells us we need to be constantly doing something. If you do not have awareness of your needs, the chances of always running the race are higher. Finding calm is essential to simultaneously reach your needs. When did you last spend time with yourself? When did you pay attention to the constant stream of thoughts? The act of being disconnected from the self also leads to the inner voice not finding its way to your mind and heart.
For a long time, I was doing too many things. Right from managing creative assignments, to daily tasks, there was little time to truly gauge what I wanted. I was already into yoga and meditation but then I intensified the commitment to both practices. This brought attention to me on a deeper level while removing the clutter. Therefore –
- Meditate, and meditate more often
- Write down your thoughts, let them flow
- Spend time in silence more often
- Do regular check-ins with yourself (Ask yourself, “how am I feeling today?”)
- Build self-confidence: A lot of the problem that exists around not finding your voice is based on low self-esteem levels and confidence issues. You might need to examine who is setting the benchmark that leads to your low self-esteem. By examining the pressure that is exerted on yourself, begin finding the root cause of your low self-esteem levels. Tackle the inner critical voice that tells you negative stories. Therefore –
- Do something that you have been putting off out of fear (go for the solo trip, talk to an audience)
- Join a class, upgrade your skills
- Practice self-love, ensure you remind yourself about your strengths
- Practice affirmations and rewire your thinking
- Prioritize yourself: This Women’s Day, let’s begin with prioritizing your own needs over others. You cannot lose the ability to speak up your mind because you are too tied up fulfilling all the roles expected by society or people you know. If you think you are stretched for time, you need to discuss it with the respective people to reassess the role you play and its impact on your mental health. What is stopping you from putting yourself first? Guilt? Shame? Examine the core areas. Therefore –
- Make a list of things that you want to do and haven’t yet attempted in life
- Focus on raising your priorities and concerns and share them with family, office members
- Set daily reminders to stay committed to your goals
- Discuss boundaries with people, apply them without hesitation
5. Focus on identity: A lot of our time goes into donning the garb of being someone we are not. I think the way we see ourselves has a lot to depend on the way we are raised, the voices around us and what they tell us, and what we choose to hold in our minds. Let go of these voices, and focus on connecting with your true self. Erase the need to hold on to someone’s view of ‘you.’
For example, I was always drawn towards spiritual readings and psychology but often believed I was not ‘the type’ because I was told ‘I am not the type.’ It takes years of unlearning and learning and knowing that you can choose your path. Your true self will appear slowly before you. Therefore –
a. Read good books to expand your mind. I’d recommend The Power of Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy to begin with.
b. Be consistent in your efforts towards yourself
c. Write down who you think you are, and then write down who you think you can be if you didn’t hold fears in your mind
d. Align your actions with your new goals (focus on what steps you are taking to bring yourself closer to your goals.)
6. Start small, learn to talk: It’s not easy to speak up if your voice has always been drowned out by others. However, you can begin small and voice your opinion once you have received clarity on the above. You may feel afraid as you don’t know how the other person may react. And, that’s why I always say, we must stop caring about the world too much. Your voice matters, just as much as someone else’s voice would matter. Therefore –
a. Stop worrying about what people say, and be assertive
b. Bring in a sense of calm in difficult conversations
c. Learn to pause before you react, it brings in greater peace
d. Learn to be accepting towards criticism of your views, however, don’t accept any verbal abuse. You also don’t have to agree with everyone
If you feel afraid that you may not say the right thing, remember, there’s no such thing as the ‘right thing’. It’s all about perception and these can differ from person to person.
It’s your life, what’s stopping you from living it? Find your voice, and take over the world!
Areas for Reflective Practice
- When did you feel you could not find your voice? When did you feel your opinions were disregarded?
- How many times have you given in to what people say?
- Have you spoken up for yourself recently?
- What are the areas that you fear?
Remember, the most important day is the day you decide, that you are important… for you! Happy Women’s Day!
If you are feeling disturbed, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d try to support you by connecting you with the right set of mental health professionals. If you know someone who needs help, support them. Let’s focus on #WomenSupportingWomen