As I started this journey, one of the first blogs I wrote was about my voice, losing it, the effects it had on me and then getting my voice back. The journey has been fascinating and amazing. Big moments of sadness, stress and vulnerability, followed by deep joy and incredible freedom.
The moment I want to focus on in this piece, is the moment I received my first feedback from a friend. He was kind, friendly and sympathetic. He spoke from his heart and everything he said was filled with love and sincerity. He didn’t know about the hate and rejection I carried for so long. He wanted me to know that he thinks my voice is beautiful, kind and carries power. This was an amazing reaction, I expected my first reaction to be; “nice piece of writing” or “I didn’t know you wrote. Awesome. Keep on going”. I didn’t expect this to be my first reaction. I was still on cloud nine with starting a blog and putting myself out there, using my voice and speaking my truth. I listened to him and thanked him, I really appreciated his clearly thought through sentiment and heartfelt words.
What happened next blew my mind! The next day I was angry and sad. Intensely!
I put the phone down after another conversation about my blog and was completely confused and horrified by my inner reaction. What? Why? Really? Why is this happening after all the work I have done?
So interesting how we work on improving ourselves, growing and educating ourselves. Making great progress, seeing improvements and hearing about it from others. Then suddenly out of the blue, trip, smack face first into the ground. I was annoyed and felt set back, I could feel the old voice issues I had coming back, pulling me to where I first started.
I heard doubt too! What’s happening here? I heard it asking me: "Is ‘why’ the best question to ask here?"
No, why is not the best question, actually why is the worst question to ask. Asking myself why, made my brain react defensively. Defending itself against me. I was protecting my ego!
It was time to reflect and ask the correct questions, with no judgements and expectations that results in beating myself up.
What does the emotions I felt mean about me?
I was sad, what I made that mean was weakness, I failed.
When I felt them, what was actually happening?
Someone was sharing their feelings about me with me.
What did I do about this?
I told myself that they thought I was weak and a failure.
What was actually said to me?
You are so amazing and so brave! I appreciate you.
How did I not hear this? How did I hear failure and weakness?
I was telling my truth. I was stepping into my own fear. When we step into our fear we have left our comfort zone. My comfort zone was to believe that my voice represented everything about me and that it was weak and a failure, therefore I was and that was how I lost my voice.
Now that I have stepped out of this belief and into the unknown, I needed to learn more about myself, my new belief and about my voice. When we learn new things about ourselves, we discover new facts. The new facts about me was that I didn’t know how to react or deal with people’s sympathy, compassion or reactions to my truths.
When this happened, I quickly wanted to run back to my old comfort zone. Alas the only way we can get to growth and ownership of our new belief system is to walk through fear into learning, accept the learning curve and ride it like the intense rollercoaster that it is. In the growth part of this journey is where you realise that you have created a new belief system and that you own it, more importantly, it is now your truth.
This was so incredible for me to work through, because I was now able to take all the reactions and non reactions to my voice and see it for it was. People reacted, because they love me and they wanted to share that love with me. All I had to do was accept the love! I was spending so much time telling their stories in my head, for them, about them, that I missed writing my own.
Step out of the lives of other people’s stories, made up by you and step into your own reality, your own truth, your own story! Write that, tell that and own it. We can’t read other’s minds or even see what’s going on in their thoughts, but you know your own. Stay there, learn from it, develop it and make it real.
Living in other people’s minds and designing their lives is living a life disconnected from your own. You are living with lies made up by yourself about others.
Once I accepted the fear of the unknown, the learning process and started owning it, I was able to replace the fear with creativity. The creativity enabled me to ask questions that brought more curiosity and that made me want to know more about the people giving me sympathy. Once I made their sympathy about them and their lives, I was able to see the love. They were not looking at me in shame or weakness or pity, they were looking at me with love. They wanted to know more about me. They wanted to share in my joy and my new found enthusiasm to use my powerful voice in service of others.
When someone gives you sympathy or empathy, they are telling you a story about themselves. They are sharing themselves with you. Do not dismiss this and make it about yourself. You told your truth, you believe in your truth, you stand strong in it, their reactions to it should not divert or destroy your truth. Hear it for what it is. They want to know more and they want to be heard. As a side note, there are of course moments when some people come from a hateful place, take note and then stop them from taking the oxygen out of your life.
Back to my original point, making it about others and not you, truly hearing them, you are able to discern between those who are giving you love or those you need to leave behind with love. I was able to leave my ego behind and focus on what was being said to me. Hearing the love, support, encouragement and the cheerleading. I am slowly walking into the growth part of this journey. I am sure there will be moments in the future when I will be reminded of the old comfort zone, the old belief, and I will remind myself; that it does not serve me anymore to live there and I will move on with a smile on my face.
I now live in a place where I am using my voice, accepting the love that comes with it and hearing clearly my responsibility.
When someone gives you sympathy, accept the love and listen to their story.
I want to thank everyone who contacted me about my voice blog post, thank you for your support. Thank you for your story and sharing it with me. Thank you for your love.