If you grew up in a conservative household, from a household where you didn’t have much of a voice, or like me, someone from an Asian background, then you were probably told to respect your elders, keep your opinions to yourself, don’t talk back, don’t say anything that would bring shame to the family, don’t share too much with people outside the family so that you don’t air out any dirty laundry.
Typically the father was the man of the household and had the loudest voice so his opinions weighed the most. Of course, there were also households where the mother played that part instead of the father. It took me a long time to find my voice, and I’m not talking about performing, live on stage or the like. What I’m talking about is really our own voice. The one we seldom hear or pay attention to unless we were desperate enough to. The one that held back even if we were talked down to. Yes, the same voice that expresses our true thoughts and feelings. The voice that doesn’t lie. The voice that represents us and is not afraid of being heard when we’re ready to speak from the heart.
One of the reasons I chose to move back to Hong Kong, aside from wanting to be closer to my family, is because it took me years to find and share my voice. And I noticed that this was a pattern amongst peers from a similar background. We gave our voice away by agreeing with people we viewed as “more superior”, “more powerful”, “more senior” or “more authoritative” to us even when we didn’t want to. We gave our voice away when we didn’t honor our real thoughts and feelings. We gave our voice away to everyone we chose to ignore it or hold back from self-expression.
Another place where I felt that I lost my voice was while working in Tinseltown (Hollywood). It was so ironic because I was working in film publicity at the time. Social media was still a new thing, Facebook had only been around for a year or two when I started my former career so it wasn’t as easy or normal to share our voice as loudly or as publicly as we can today. When you’re someone who doesn’t have a loud voice to begin with and you’re surrounded by these big names, influential people, and celebrities that embrace the jet-set life, you can somehow lose grasp that your voice is needed and that it matters. Fortunately, it was in the process of self-discovery, and a lot of self-exploration that helped me realize what it meant to be needed by the world and how important self-expression really is.
My realization of how much the world needed our individual voices also prompted me to understand that some of us can feel recused because we have not yet envisioned our contribution to this life. But just like the different voices in a choir, no matter how quirky our voices might be, we, and our voices, are still valid and important, even if not to others, but to ourselves.
Why It’s Important To Share Your Voice
Simple: because there’s no one like you in the world.
It’s amazing to realize how different experiences and realizations can mold people. My experiences are likely different from yours, and you and I don’t share the same significant life events. Maybe one of us had it harder growing up. Maybe you had to learn certain lessons earlier than I or vice versa. Maybe we’re going to meet a person who shares a journey that is a far cry from what we’ve already gone through.
When we gather around a table, I’m sure we will learn from each and every person sitting with us. One might be a voice of fairness. One might share her voice on beauty. One’s voice might be an inspiration to strive for greatness no matter how hard it is.
Our various experiences bring a special touch to our voice. What you’ve learned from your life can be a lesson to another. You will never know whose lives you touch until you actually start sharing your story.
What Could Stop You From Sharing Your Voice
Expressing ourselves can be daunting; especially when there are underlying issues that prevent us from opening what we know. Emotional blockage can also prevent us from getting in touch with our voice, let alone sharing it with the world and that’s when deep emotional healing can help through energy healing, as a way to release repressed or suppressed emotions that may be stuck within us.
I had one client before who after warming up with me shared some of the most beautiful stories with me. I asked her “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” Her answer was eye-opening: “I thought no one would be interested…”
Isn’t this a common thought for most of us? There are factors that make us hold back.
Our hesitations could come from trauma borne from being prohibited from speaking out or expressing ourselves. The ability to speak out and express our emotions, thoughts, and impressions can also possibly stem from a deep-seated belief that what we say will not matter; that there are people who will have better things to say than us.
The fear of being judged harshly can be a powerful factor that makes it hard for us to articulately open up about our feelings and creativity.
Sometimes, the fear of rejection gets a hold of us. It ties us around self-doubts and insecurities that stop us from actually sharing ideas that might help the people around us.
But we owe it to ourselves to freely share our talents, ideas, opinions, and stories with the world. We owe it to ourselves to be confident in our own stories.
How To Fully Express Yourself
How do we overcome our tendency to withdraw during the times when our voices are most needed? Here are some ideas.
Know Yourself First
Start by connecting within. Find the stories that you want to share. Are they stories you want to share with friends, family or publicly? Or would it be even better to reshare it with yourself so you can savour that moment privately? Listen to your inner voice. Sometimes, all that we need to give us ideas on how to express ourselves can be found within us. Our creativity is slumbering inside…just waiting for us to tap into it.
Once you’ve understood who you are, your story, and what sets you apart from the rest, you can slowly climb out the wall of what holds you back. You can start working on your trauma by reminding yourself of the greatness of your voice. You can find the reason to speak out despite years of being told to keep quiet.
You can find the uniqueness that you can’t simply wait to share with everyone.
Express it Through Art
Art is powerful. It conveys emotions and words that we can’t sometimes say or show. It’s impressive how strokes and colors can evoke emotions and unexplainable feelings.
If you prefer to use fewer words, art can help. We can communicate even with abstract paintings. You can also get lost in the moment which can open up your emotions and hidden thoughts even more.
When I first moved back to Hong Kong a good friend of mine and I used to run a regular storytelling event where anyone was open to sharing their own story, however they wished on a small stage. I remember one woman shared her story through a slideshow of photos that she had taken. To this day, it was one of the stories that stuck with me nearly 8 years later. Expressing your voice through visuals or any artwork can be just as powerful as words alone.
The great thing about expressing our emotions and voice through art is we’re not only expressing ourselves, but we also touch the lives of those who might be needing our ultimate message.
Express it By Lifting Others
There will be times that our stories will be so painful to share. Through sharing our stories with people who went through the same trauma, we can express what we can’t. Seeing that our experiences empower those who seem to be voiceless can make it possible for us to draw the strength to tell our stories.
Express it Through Words
When literally speaking out seems hard, journaling can come to the rescue. Writing down our emotions and thoughts in a journal, our private, safe place, can be a surprisingly empowering way of getting comfortable with sharing our voice.
Write stories, pen inspiring blogs, and deliver inspiring words and messages to people who you know will truly listen.
Express it By Raising Your Voice
When we find the voice to speak out, we can let that voice live by speaking out. Sometimes, it will require all our courage and will. But when we take the first step to share our voice, we begin to realize that it’s not so bad after all.
We can raise our voice through advocating for a cause, and through speaking out our minds when we need to educate others about a topic.
Raising our voice sometimes comes with a negative connotation. But raising our voice for good is always a great move.
The world needs our voice. The people around us need the lessons we have learned on our journey. The things we share with others may not directly benefit everyone, but they can influence people who need them the most. In raising our voices, we can share stories that can change our lives.
But most importantly, we need our own voice. We need to express, hear and nurture our own voice, for ourselves. Because even if no one is hearing our voice, we need to hear it for ourselves, and that’s when we can be true to ourselves, be present and live a fuller life.
Get started with self-expression today in any capacity. Pick up a pencil and start doodling. Give yourself three minutes to write a random story, or if you need a little more support, kickstart the process with an emotional healing session through Intuitive Energy Healing. On top of an energy cleansing treatment, I’d be happy to be one of your first core listeners while you test out the best way for you to share your voice meaningfully, for yourself.