Finding my Voice again

by Cherise Holt, Nurse, Australia

In the past I listened as my relatives described me as a girl who could ‘talk under wet cement’, meaning I was Little Miss Chatterbox. I know that I was a lovely, gentle little girl who could chat to anyone and I can see that this was their observation based on the huge change in me. Throughout primary and high school I had become very quiet and shy.

Inside I felt hurt and defensive by this comment, like I was somehow less than I used to be, and I had created my own story to back up the reasons for my change. I had taken on responsibility for others from a very young age and I began to think that a part of being responsible was keeping your worries to yourself. I was internalising my own worries whilst taking on those of others.

My school report cards began to describe me as ‘reserved’; a word that felt hurtful and that I allowed to stick with me for a long time. To me this word meant that I was not being myself, so when adults were labelling me as this, a part of me gave up on being anything more. When I was young I had noticed others got annoyed by my giggles and talking. I once got in trouble for whistling in class so I began to hush and measure my own voice.

At age eleven on holidays, my grandfather passed away suddenly. I was far away from my parents and to be honest, I can barely remember uttering a word. I felt the grief and sadness, and I struggled to express this with others. A part of me thought that I needed to be responsible and hold myself together, and another part didn’t know how to express the hurt I was feeling. This had become a big part in my life that best described, for me, how and why I had stopped talking.

By high school it felt like I had forgotten how to speak around people I didn’t know, and the anxiety that came with class presentations or speeches and group work was always highly stressful. My heart would be racing. But something else was now coming into play – when I did speak it required some sort of trying or a push behind it. I felt like I had to talk, and I thought what I had to say needed to sound right.

At sixteen I allowed a guy to make me feel even more insecure about what I had to say. I felt bullied as he would say things like ‘don’t you ever speak’ in an aggressive tone, and a friend said to me ‘just scream one time; I just want to hear you yell’. This was something I believed that other people must surely be thinking about me, too. The pressure to speak felt so heavy that I was choosing to do the opposite.

I was analysing every word I would say before it left my mouth: I would say what I thought was right, and if I didn’t think it was perfect I would hold back and say nothing. When I did speak I would analyse it later, pick it to pieces about what I should have said differently. I know my Dad could feel how hard on myself I was being; he would comment ‘don’t worry, it’s the empty vessels that make the most noise’. It was his way of saying, you don’t have to be loud or talk a lot, or be like anyone else.

In my twenties I believed I was lacking in confidence, so I searched outside for courses or assistance in finding it. But what I found was Universal Medicine – and presented to me was the fact that true confidence is already within me. It is about allowing me to just be, finding and honouring my own way of expressing.

There is something quite similar in the way that I spoke as a little girl and in the way I speak now as a woman – simplicity.

For me it lies in the connection to myself, whether I stop to feel my own heart beating, my lungs expanding or my gentle breath. I can actually feel if I have something to say or not, and that there is a way of speaking that is my way.

If someone is talking loud or fast I can tell if I am trying to keep up with them… my body becomes tense and my voice strained or louder than feels natural. I have held back from speaking up because I know someone else is louder and I would have to contend to be heard. But the feeling I now have is trust in what I have to share; it is too great to not find my own way to express it.

I can feel if someone else needs me to speak – for their comfort perhaps, or for me to respond with a comment they want to hear. But there is also an absolute feeling that it is okay if I choose not to speak or say much. It is not a way of holding back or not being myself – on the contrary, it is an honouring of me and what is right for me in the moment.

I have been hard on myself for a long time, analysing my words and adding complexity to life. Creating my own beliefs of how I should speak based on my perception of other’s views and comparison of other people. But I know there can’t be any hardness when you speak from within yourself, where you don’t hold all the right and wrong beliefs of how it needs to happen.

It is a progress of allowing me to just be, connecting to myself in a moment and feeling what I want to express. It’s letting go of the control I once wielded over my voice and discovering that not only do I feel like I have quite a lot to say, but that I am also giving myself the permission to express it, however it feels right for me.

 

361 thoughts on “Finding my Voice again

  1. I can so relate to what you share here Cherise. When you have held back what you have felt and wanted to say for so long you can start to test the waters and lift the lid and let some trickle out, but this still leaves the backlog and pressure there. The other option is to literally open the rusty old flood gates. At the start it all may come out in a gush and a rush and not be so clear but once open and you begin to understand and learn from your realisations, mistakes and accomplishments you will get more and more into the flow.

  2. Internalising and keeping our worries to ourselves only allows them to fester and multiply… and taking on the worries of others only makes it worse.

  3. Many, including myself, will relate to what you share Cherise, unable to find their voice and instead speaking words we believe others want to hear. Finding our own voice starts in childhood with children supported to know and express their innermost feelings and thoughts. The opposite was true for me where the prevailing message received was ‘children are seen not heard’ and consequently this stopped me expressing myself openly and instead kept things hidden, a behaviour I’ve had to unlearn as an older adult. Without self worth it is often difficult to express ourselves and this is where the work begins: re-building our own sense of self.

  4. I can relate to feeling the push and effort in trying to express myself, wanting to sound right and feeling awkward about speaking and being heard. Developing confidence by staying connected to my body and building my self-worth has enabled me to express more and trust what I am feeling from my body.

  5. “When I did speak I would analyse it later, pick it to pieces about what I should have said differently.” I would go into my mind running through different scenarios which would take me into overwhelm or harsh self-criticism on how I could have expressed myself better not realising that this was taking me further away from myself and feeling the truth from my body and expressing from there.

  6. This blog could have been written about me as a child. ’I began to think that a part of being responsible was keeping your worries to yourself. I was internalising my own worries whilst taking on those of others’. This line struck me, it gave me a realisation of how a part of me stopped talking. I could feel how the pivotal point to talking and speaking up is the connection to ourselves, building love and trust of our knowing of what truth we hold within.

    1. Speaking our truth comes from the authority lived in our bodies and it is our responsibility to raise our children, cherishing this fact about them, that they have a knowingness in who they are and read the energy of situations and movements far before they have to think about what they can or can’t, should or shouldn’t say. We were all born with this innate ability to understand and read life and with the support of each other we are all able to find our true voices and not hold them back once again.

  7. It was lovely to come back and read your blog again Cherise. I remember capping my expression at an early age around 4 or so when I was in the back of the car and no one was listening to me so I said to myself I am not going to talk anymore, it was like I had cursed myself and that incident then affected how I expressed throughout my life, choosing to stay silent and not expressing what I was feeling, bottling it up and then getting upset at something totally unrelated.

  8. Never before coming across Universal Medicine did I ever take note of how I spoke, to myself and out in the world. And my experience has been similar to yours Cherise in that when I am connected to my body my thoughts and words are much more loving and kind and playful. Compared to when I am disconnected and focusing on what I think I should be doing or how I should be doing it there is only judgement and agression and moodiness in my tone. The tone of our voice can reveal so much about us and whats going on inside us if we choose to take notice.

  9. An absolutely gorgeous blog Cherise. How lovely it is to give ourselves permission to express however we feel in any given moment and how exhausting and harmful it is to try to hold back what we feel.

  10. Cherise your blog touched me deeply as I got to feel how much I’ve taught myself to self censor to fit in and how measured I can be in how I express and speak. I’m learning to trust myself more and to know that I don’t always want to/have to speak but most importantly that if I do not speak and communicate connected to my body, then I can easily get lost in what I should say or how I should say it – I lose my true expression. Thank you for a gorgeous and very supportive sharing.

  11. Understanding that our expression has no ‘off switch’ brings us to the science that we are constantly communicating all-of-the-time; this means that we are either communicating in a way that is with the authority and powerful all-knowingness of who we are – the absolute equal beauty and harmony that is within us, or we must be communicating something else, something far less powerful and thus not at all as the truth of our innately wise and precious way to be. We are then here presented with a choice, to know our true voice and its purpose and to live with it throughout our day as best as we can or give ourselves over to the painful way of holding such purpose back and away from all who need to hear it, including ourselves.

  12. As little children we express simply how we feel without any worries and thoughts how we might sound, look or will be liked, and as adults we can be completely tangled in a myriad of possibilities that our words may cause and not speak at all, or speak too much, underneath ridden with anxiety and doubt. This alone shows that we allow ourselves to become someone that we are simply not.

  13. I love the way you describe your voice Cherise, like a natural instrument given from God, that when you play is normally in tune with your body in every single way. What a cool gauge of how you are feeling and going – just how this instrument sounds today. Makes me consider we should be listening to all the music of our body without critique, each and every day.

  14. With self-acceptance comes natural expression, trying to be someone else for whatever reason takes away our natural expression hence, the process of reclaiming one´s expression goes along with claiming oneself as who we are.

    1. That actually works – we only need to do one, claiming who we are, and our natural expression and lots of other things come back by themselves.

  15. I like this article Cherise and can relate to it quite easily, expression is everything and having the ability to do so from an inner truth is an awesome trait.

  16. Beautifully said Cherise, I am learning to deepen the relationship with myself and appreciate myself and the qualities I bring more and more, as this has been key to building a natural confidence within and feeling ok about expressing in all areas of my life.

  17. I too learnt a similar way to measure my own voice to not attract attention or to be accepted, overriding what my body was truly communicating and ignoring how much my body hurt in having to suppress what I was feeling was true when it more often than not needed to be expressed and heard.

  18. It struck me when reading this blog how we need to bring more awareness to the words we use to label children, and each other for that matter. It is like a curse and from some belief that there is a certain way that one should express. We need to feel and read where another is coming from and encourage them to be all they are rather than shut down their natural expression.

  19. What can be felt from this blog is the innate rhythm that is within the body and how this rhythm impulses expression. It feels very different from the mentally generated thought process most of us are accustomed to and habitually use. There is a feeling of solidity in this embodiment whereas the mental feels as if it is all about the head – just thinking rather than feeling or sensing. Is it possible that the true heart of expression is in fact from the whole body and not just from our heads? Definitely something worth exploring in my view.

  20. Feeling we must stay strong and not show or express our feelings really only serves to keep ourselves small and not alone that, we also deprive the world of the divine qualities we came to earth to express. We have a responsibility to express our true feeling with love, which is not only a blessing to ourselves but also to others.

  21. I started a new job recently and became aware how I was holding back my expression as my body started to show the consequences. It wasn’t just that I would not say something awkward, I was becoming a quiet person who would not laugh out loud. I was losing my playfulness and becoming someone else. It felt horrible and of course my body has to show. I totally agree with you, Cherise, it is about allowing myself to just be and letting whatever flows through me be expressed.

  22. On re-visiting this blog today, this sentence stood out like a ‘sore thumb’. Oh my goodness…….just to take on the role of being a super-sponge, absorb everything of others emotions and then feel super responsible for them – this is the most poisoning thing to oneself and others. It has taken much work to let go of this insidious way of living and occasionally I can still get caught up in it and it feels exhausting.
    “I had taken on responsibility for others from a very young age and I began to think that a part of being responsible was keeping your worries to yourself. I was internalising my own worries whilst taking on those of others”.

  23. Feeling my body helps to give me confidence, it brings me back to being present and connected and from there expressing naturally what and how I feel to. Thanks for this Beautiful blog Cherise, I could relate to so much of what you’ve said here and it’s a great reminder of how to support my true expression and confidence.

  24. I made many adjustments in my life, especially when young due to negative feedback from others. In other words I more than a few times hurt myself in order to give others relief.

  25. It’s intense how much we measure, gauge, believe. We go through so many stories in our head in every second doing our best to calculate what we do/say just so as to seemingly keep everyone around us happy, or in truth, comfortable. What an absolute waste of our energy. We literally put the breaks on who we are and try to calibrate to whoever is around us, and then adapt to the next lot of people and basically forever spend our lives mastering being a chameleon. It’s awesome when we finally realise, that actually, there is no need for any of that. Life becomes simple again.

  26. It’s very fitting the comment you mention Cherise about wet cement, because ‘growing up’ and becoming an adult these days can be like a process of erecting structures every day to keep people away. Another incident of abuse can turn up and quickly become another excuse for a new brick in the wall. Contrast this with the natural flow of a child’s sharings, that bubble, pop and flow like natural spring or river. I get the sense this was the sort of kid that you were, and it inspires me to cherish this quality in me and others too – it’s beautiful for we are all designed to naturally share.

  27. Relearning to communicate and express from our hearts and bodies can literally be likened to learning to walk again so we can reimprint all our steps with grace and purpose.

  28. Beautfull blog, and it made me ponder on why so many people fear public speaking, which should come so naturally to all, but does not because most of us are so preoccupied with how we will come across and be judged, and so we expend a lot of nervous energy in trying to ensure we are what the world audience wants us to be.

  29. Thank you for your sharing, it gives a great insight into what may be going on for someone and reading it made me reflect on what may be going on for people I know and how I can bring more understanding to them.

  30. I struggled with expressing myself for many years in wanting to avoid people’s reactions and to fit in. I found my voice again when I started to rebuild my relationship with myself and to treat myself with tenderness and care. The more I accept myself the more I naturally want to engage in life and honestly express how I am feeling and what I am sensing.

  31. Universal Medicine provides the awareness and depth of understanding ‘expression is everything’. We all have a voice and our truth is the difference between what is the quality we choose to live in. Do we choose to be less or more and express it so with the result being what world we want to live in. Cherise, it is the best that you have found your voice again – Another voice claiming the FIRE back to earth!!

  32. I have quite a lot to say too Cherise but I hold back which of course is an ingrained pattern of mine but like you it is simply a case of giving myself permission to express what I am feeling…..

  33. It is beautiful how you now appreciate and confirm yourself and your natural expression. What you have expressed here is simple and profound;
    “For me it lies in the connection to myself, whether I stop to feel my own heart beating, my lungs expanding or my gentle breath. I can actually feel if I have something to say or not, and that there is a way of speaking that is my way”.

  34. I love the accepting and allowing you speak of here Cherise and can feel no pressure or trying in how you now communicate and how different that is. We can so easily get into being right and in fact we put so much pressure and stress on us and one thing you note which I do not always consider is the complexity this brings to our lives which is not needed. So being and expressing us is in fact simpler.

  35. Thank you Cherise I loved what you have shared here, I can relate to being shut down when young by a comment “stop your silly giggling” it seemed that it was not right to be joyful. I found school difficult with relating with other children and speaking in class sent me into a panic. I am now seventy years on in life learning to speak up, letting go of the right and wrong, realising that when I am connected I can just express me and it has a flow, and that when I become uncomfortable with my speaking i have left my connection. “It’s letting go of the control I once wielded over my voice and discovering that not only do I feel like I have quite a lot to say, but that I am also giving myself the permission to express it, however it feels right for me.”

  36. Cherise I love the way how you express – you describe it so tangibly for me why you shut down and also how you chose to not hold yourself back. That is so inspiring! Thank you for not holding back as your amazing blog, it shows very clearly how important it is to express oneself.

  37. Universal Medicine has supported and gently encouraged me to find my voice and express and share what I have to say.

  38. Wow this reminded me how often we hold back saying what needs to be said, and how damaging this is when we don’t express and hold the expression in, and then when we do express we worry about how it came out. When we simply express our truth, there is no right or wrong, and we honour ourselves and others when we express rather than holding back.

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