I have noticed that almost nothing in life supports us to be who we are and to say it how it is.
From the beginning, we seem to be performing for others, with much attention, focus and anticipation given to our every movement… whether we will be a boy or a girl, what we look like, whether we are cute or not, or healthy or not… the list goes on.
The pressure to be what is generally accepted in society as ‘normal’ is astounding and relentless from the beginning. Whether it is better to be bottle-fed or breastfed, whether it is more acceptable to be a boy or a girl, let alone if we are healthy and without impediments and illness… What if a woman doesn’t produce the ‘perfect baby’ for everyone else? What does this then say about her?
We go to school to learn – but when we get there, we discover we aren’t learning about life and how to be in life, let alone how to create the life we want for ourselves… We are learning how to become like everyone else; if not, how to be ‘better’ than another, or smarter, prettier or tougher, and more able to conform to the expectations of others… How to fit in and play it safe, and how to be what everyone else wants us to be – all the while learning to not listen to our own knowing and body, and our own heart.
Our expression is ‘moulded’ on a daily basis – how to construct sentences ‘correctly’, articulate, pronounce, use the correct amount of adjectives, nouns, adverbs when we speak and write, with correct grammar and spelling – and all before the bell rings or the teacher says “pens down”. Even the words we use have their own set of rules for spelling and pronouncing them… This is highlighted to me on a daily basis when my daughter, who is learning to write now, writes her words exactly as they sound. So many of our words aren’t written in this way and appear far more complicated than they need to be. I can read her words and pronounce them perfectly with their raw spelling yet the same words going to school would be marked up with ‘red pen’… Remember the red pen?
(Recently I was attending a service office of some description. The lady at the counter shared with me that the number of people who come in who have issues with ‘red pens’, and prefer to never use them, is incredible. Could it be a reminder of their days at school and the many ‘corrections’ that take place to our true expression?)
There are many conflicting messages around us telling us how to be, and how not to be; what is acceptable to say, and what is not.
Something that is very noticeable during pregnancy and raising children is how much literature there is about what you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ do – what is considered ‘normal’ behaviour in a baby and what is not. Many articles contradict each other and offer opposite presentations of what ‘normal’ is. It can be very confusing as a first-time mother, with little or no experience, to be reading everywhere what is ‘normal’ and how to be – which often goes against everything that we feel and know to be true in our own heart.
When a baby is born, even more pictures are presented to us about what parenting should look like. How your baby should behave and how you should respond – nowhere is there anyone telling you to listen to your own heart, and that you already know what to do, and to trust this. The information is rapidly coming in from every direction to discount this innate knowing, and to doubt it.
I grew up in a family where feelings were discounted as indulgent and dramatic and ‘children were to be seen but not heard’. This was a sentiment I also noticed elsewhere, as if children were not equal to adults, and their expression was not valid due to their size. What I still observe around me is the way in which a contribution from a child is treated as cute and not taken seriously, or is dismissed outright as if they could not possibly know much (if anything) valid at their age, let alone be listened to, heard and respected as an equal. It appears to be generally accepted that an adult knows better. Something I have learnt from life is that age does not always equate to wisdom, for I have met many wise children and many unwise adults.
As we grow up, there appears to be a strong pressure to conform, to fit in, to have thoughts, beliefs and a ‘voice’ in line with the masses – and if you don’t, you are treated as an ‘outcast’, a ‘misfit’, as ‘rebellious’ or a ‘black sheep’. There appears to be a common belief in society that if you go against the grain, you are causing trouble and that your expression is ‘wrong’… The odds are stacked against you – how can you possibly be on track if everyone else is on another path altogether?
Another interesting observation growing up is the way in which loving, cherishing or celebrating yourself is often frowned upon by others, and seen as a negative quality and way of expression. I have always been fascinated with the way in which people would say, “You’re in love with yourself”, as if love meant the same thing as ‘arrogance’ and to ‘love yourself’ was a curse. In the past I worked very hard to prove I didn’t love myself just so that others wouldn’t feel I was judging them or feeling that I was better than them (because this was not the case), and it became easier to not express the joy I felt every day than to feel how my joy disturbed others. My true voice became quieter and quieter and the ‘voice-over’ became louder and louder. Today I would respond to the same statement “You’re in love with yourself” with a matter of fact, ‘Yes, I am, and it’s amazing… it’s definitely worth it”.
We become so good at fitting in and not disturbing others in the belief that this is being a good friend to them. Why is it that we stop short of challenging behaviours we know are not right from our family and friends, and why are we not enquiring about what is really going on for people? There appears to be so much falsity in society – the polite “How are you?” when really we don’t want to know. The other person feels this and gives the same polite response back: “Very well” or “Good”, when often this is far from their reality. Have you ever had the experience of hearing someone say they are “Great” when you can see they aren’t doing well and are barely coping?
Have you ever had the experience of taking some of the shine off what you are saying in case the other person feels worse? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. We seem to have become good at giving the responses we believe others want to hear rather than saying it as it truly is.
Why it is that we don’t ask the important questions? Or openly discuss the truth of our lives? Or wondered how there can be so much going on beneath the surface for us all, yet we don’t go there? Is it that people don’t really want to know; a “Please don’t tell me anything bad I may not be able to deal with”? Could it be that we have spent so long saying things how we think we ‘need’ to, that we have moved away from our natural voice and true expression?
What then is the quality of our discussions and our connections with each other when we are playing the charade of measured question and measured response, rather than saying what we are really feeling to share with others? How can we be truly loving, supportive and understanding of each other when we aren’t giving a voice to our true feelings and allowing our hearts to speak?
Thanks to Universal Medicine, I am re-discovering the enormous freedom in saying things as they truly are from my heart, without reservation. There is also great responsibility in this, which I will never step away from again: to be open, loving and understanding of others, to not hold back the truth and what is needed in any moment (which is an on-going learning), to not lessen myself and alter my voice to ‘keep the peace’ or not ‘rock the boat’.
Re-discovering our natural voice is nothing short of amazing and inspires others to find their true voice too… and thus begins to de-program the old operating system that has been in place for most of our lives.
277 thoughts on “Trusting our ‘True Voice’ and Expression”
Wow, such a great read. You have highlighted how much pressure and conformity comes at us from birth onwards, seemingly from every angle. Truly as I read all I could feel is how abusive that is, to coach people away from being themselves which leads to a life of constantly trying to fill the emptiness or find what’s missing. It’s actually a form of misery to not be ourselves. And what a great line about loving ourselves being falsely equated with arrogance “Today I would respond to the same statement “You’re in love with yourself” with a matter of fact, ‘Yes, I am, and it’s amazing… it’s definitely worth it”.
It’s been a real blessing in my life to have universal medicine confirming that what I feel is more true and supportive than going along with the crowd within a collective mental picture of how life should be lived.
There is so much to discuss here with what you have shared. One thing that stood out to me was this ‘In the past I worked very hard to prove I didn’t love myself just so that others wouldn’t feel I was judging them or feeling that I was better than them’ I can relate to this when I was younger, a teenager, in being tough to kind of say ‘I don’t care’ and ‘you can’t hurt me’. We really need to look at just how far removed we become from ourselves, our sensitivity and the truth of who we are at such a young age. To me, this alone clearly shows how we are currently living is not working.
Without regret, I say this: had I been supported as a child to know who I am, trust my own feelings and express them, my life would have been lived very differently. Instead, the way taught and modeled gave greater regard to others than self and to speak your truth was considered arrogant. To know we’re all from a one and universal source, all equal and worthy, should be taught to all children and adults alike.
It is so true, we are given so many pictures of parenting that we are constantly striving to keep up with them, with our work, with everything else and have zero time for connection and actually listening to each other!
‘Re-discovering our natural voice is nothing short of amazing and inspires others to find their true voice too… and thus begins to de-program the old operating system that has been in place for most of our lives’ – hear, hear. We are so well trained in aiming for the right and accepted, we forgot that the possibility of truth even existed. Allowing ourselves to express with no filter is a huge leap of self-love.
“Re-discovering our natural voice is nothing short of amazing and inspires others to find their true voice too” The more we all choose to express truth, the more truth everyone will feel and know.
By-and-large, the choices we make under pressure are not the same ones we make in absence thereof. How pressure affects the body that makes the decision is something to consider to understand. How different feels the body when feels spacious and free to choose.
“We go to school to learn …….. We are learning how to become like everyone else.” We are not learning to be like everyone else, we are in fact moulded to be like everyone else.
The crazy thing about fitting in is that we are all complying to a way of being that is completely unnatural for us. So, if we all stopped we could all be ourselves! We all have to try to fit in and its exhausting. The greatest ease and contentment I feel is when I let myself be.
So true, we are all trying to fit in and we have to then ask who are we fitting in with if no-one is actually being themselves?!
Every form of expression is so empowering when we are true to our essence or inner-most.
‘How to fit in and play it safe, and how to be what everyone else wants us to be – all the while learning to not listen to our own knowing and body, and our own heart’. It is crazy, but true how we all learn not to listen to our own inner guidance or inner knowing as we shut this part down in order to ‘fit in’ and be accepted. But it has to be said, it is worth all the effort to change ones’ operating system, for once changed, you are left free to be true to yourself.
We are programmed to fit in, and to fit the pictures we adopt willingly from society around us, and yet we know they’re not true, and so begins the process of unpicking those images, and ways we’ve developed which are not truly us; and the more we do this, the more we offer an opportunity for others to do the same. What I feel clearly today reading this is how I present with my body is a huge part of communication and is it about letting another in or keeping them out and me protected. For this is part of the game we play where we choose to fit in, so we don’t stand out and so we protect, but we know it’s not true, so my question now is how willing am I to be myself no matter what, and no perfection here; what does another see in me, the beauty of truth or the convenient lie?
“We go to school to learn – but when we get there, we discover we aren’t learning about life and how to be in life, let alone how to create the life we want for ourselves… We are learning how to become like everyone else; if not, how to be ‘better’ than another, or smarter, prettier or tougher, and more able to conform to the expectations of others… ” This just absolutely nails life, this is exactly what happens, and I love your questioning – what do we truly need to do to create a world that supports you to be yourself and to learn about life and what it’s about rather than moulds you to be often the exact opposite of who you naturally are?
The one thing I wasn’t taught at school or at home was how to trust my true voice. I had to wait until my sixth decade to be shown how, connect to and express myself truly. I have no regrets for the missing years, only deep appreciation and love of the woman I’ve become.
As true expression is everything it’s imperative to understand this lesson in life and as you have shared Kehinde, it is never too late.
Beautifully expressed Kehinde for if we regret we live in the past and we would not be trusting our true voice. When we speak with our true voice we are being our self in full and therefore there cannot be any regrets as to regret to imply something is missing and hence not full.
Yes Jonathon, ‘if we regret we live in the past’ and more likely we miss the opportunity in the here and now to transform our lives.
We can talk from being in the web ourselves or step out of that bath and speak our truth by observing what is truly going on if you take it to a wider view.
“Re-discovering our natural voice is nothing short of amazing and inspires others to find their true voice too… and thus begins to de-program the old operating system that has been in place for most of our lives.” So much of what you have shared is so familiar to me as to how I have lived my life, your words above inspire me to allow my truth, my true voice to be felt and heard.
Jill, I too can relate to this. To discover the very thing I’d resisted most of my life would liberate me from holding back and pleasing others was a revelation and deeply healing. Like a caged bird, set myself free I spread my wings and began to fly.
Me three! It feels much more honouring of others as well because they actually get to hear and see first hand how we are responding to something, rather than the ‘version’ we give them and then simmering with resentment underneath that we were not heard or understood.
Much more powerful to express from who we are and when we do, people feel it and who we are. And when we don’t, we get back in return, that which feeds the already ‘simmering’ resentment caused by too much holding back.
Thank you for expressing all the ways that we avoid saying what we feel on the inside. I am more and more aware of an inner voice that comes from our essence, our bodies, our inner knowing, our soul. This is no small list- there is a wealth of truth and knowing to be expressed from these places.
‘My true voice became quieter and quieter and the ‘voice-over’ became louder and louder.’ How aware are we of the voice inside of us that is our true voice? Conversations would look completely different and there would be far more joy due to listening rather than ignoring what we really think and feel. How many self-abusive behaviours come from the need to numb ourselves to the fact that we don’t listen to our true voice?
“Thanks to Universal Medicine, I am re-discovering the enormous freedom in saying things as they truly are from my heart, without reservation.” Me too it has taken a long time to truly express from the heart because when I was young it was not only not encouraged you were reprimanded if you did. Without Universal Medicine I feel I would still be holding back from expressing all that is naturally within me to express
An indictment to knowing how often as children we were prevented from expressing ourselves. In the household I lived in we were told repeatedly ‘Children must be seen not heard’ and were not supported to be fully expressing human beings but imposed upon and silenced.
Yes I remember this too Kehinde, although it was never actually said it was very much implemented and so bottling up all that I felt and learning to measure what to say became the name of the game. Allowing our children to express lovingly and without reaction would change how we are in relationships and in every aspect of life.
“and learning to measure what to say became the name of the game.” Yes it did Alison and stopped us from expressing what we felt. When we place attention on others and give them more value, we lose ourselves and cannot offer another a true reflection. To speak up and bring the full truth of who we are empowers us and offers another an opportunity to learn. Anything less is like living with a self-imposed gagging orders.
It is definitely a liberating moment in life when we realise just how much we are pressured to live in a certain way and not left alone or let be for barely a second. For once we realise this we can begin choosing our own path and our own way.
So true – how everything is set up, from the word go, for us not to express our true voice, at home, at school, at society. Basically so-called success in life is dependent on how much we are willing to abandon ourselves.
Opportunities to hold our own and express from truth abound and yet are we always able to hold our own?
There are times when I slip, falter and find myself compromising but there is a ripple effect. It affects how I feel about myself and this impacts on the all not just me. This is sufficient enough for me to be more discerning and loving in my choices and not let the outer rule me.
How can it be the norm to not listen to what our body is telling us, and learn to override it (like our peers and role models around us)? You would think this only happens in a world gone crazy, and yet that is the world we live in.
It is so bad to consider that as a society we would tell a little girl that loving herself is not a good thing and yet I know that I have not done that to every child that has come in and out of my life. Time to ensure I change that.
It is dishonest to not express our true feelings and do whatever is needed to fit in. This harms the body and is a reflection of our sense of self worth. To express from within and truly, supports us to deepen relationships with self and others and in some situations we may choose to walk away from those that no longer serve us.
I know what you mean by the ‘voice over’ – that moulded reduced voice that feels thin and flaky in my body and is more about fitting in with what society demands than what I really feel in my heart. I am discovering more and more my true voice and how amazing it feels to express from there – my whole body expands and feels lighter and more full.
Kids often see things more clearly, and are willing to express it. That may not be pretty, or particularly well structured, but truth is truth and it is the gold that encourages us to evolve.