Trusting our ‘True Voice’ and Expression

by Deborah McInnes, Goonellabah, Australia

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?

More pressure.

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.

214 thoughts on “Trusting our ‘True Voice’ and Expression

  1. “…de-program the old operating system…” Absolutely, and hear, hear Deborah. You are correct – we are inculcated from young from so many angles regarding how to be and express.
    And yet, once we re-connect to our inner heart, the true essence of ourselves, we can indeed discover our own true expression and allow it to come forward again – realising that we needn’t ever have held ourselves back, or lost ourselves in pleasing others or simply trying to fit in. The learning is continual, but so very worth it, for all.

  2. “Re-discovering our natural voice is nothing short of amazing and inspires others to find their true voice too.”
    It is so very beautiful to feel the truth of this. As the person re-discovering my natural voice and also as the person being inspired by the natural voice of another.

  3. ‘Have you ever had the experience of taking some of the shine off what you are saying in case the other person feels worse?’ Yes, I feel I do this quite a lot, and underneath this is the belief that my expression is too much for others….. which is so untrue, but it has been this old belief that has kept my expression locked for a very long time. There is now no space for this to old belief to keep running. Out it goes!

  4. Re-programming ourselves to express what we can actually feel, and not what we think we should say, sometimes feels like a huge challenge, especially when we’ve worked hard to shut down what we can feel. As we connect to our bodies more, by allowing ourselves to feel our physical movements, our feet on the ground for example, we start to feel more. It then feels more like a choice as to whether we stay with our feelings, however uncomfortable, rather than an automatic programme of running away from them and not feeling. Discovering how it becomes easier with practice to actually express all that we can feel, and not hold it back, is an amazing unfoldment: part of allowing ourselves to be seen for who we truly are and not who we thought we needed to be.

    1. Re-programming ourselves or re-connecting with ourselves. However we express it the feeling is the same – a surrender in the body form no longer holding back, however uncomfortable it might be for another to hear, see or feel.

  5. “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?” A great point Deborah, when we hold back we are conveying so much more to others than simply not voicing our true feelings and this is felt deeply by them so that in turn they also hold back and become guarded in their expression too.

  6. ‘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.’ We hold back expressing our truth, because we don’t want to be open with others in case they get too close, society and life has taught us to protect ourselves from others in order that we don’t get hurt, when the more closed we are the more we are actually hurting ourselves and others.

    1. I feel some people don’t truly want to know how you are because it may bring up stuff for them, as in comparison, and thinking they have to fix something for you…. both are stifling and closed off.

  7. Having been inspired to not to conform and lessen myself but to express truthfully and lovingly so life increasingly becomes ‘lighter’ and more expansive. Living this way it also allows and gives permission for others to do likewise.

  8. Could these pressures that you speak about build up in us and cause us to react to situations with more force than we would otherwise bring? There is a lot of emphasis now on expressing your emotions, such as letting your anger out or giving vent to your frustration. There is even a form of yoga that encourages this. I would say that reliving the anger or frustration in this way may not be helpful. Often we think we are reconnecting with these emotions when we are just mentally picturing them and then expressing them from the picture until we are acting out the anger or frustration or other emotion. We may think we feel better but how do our bodies really feel? Could this activity in itself be draining? What if emotion itself were a reaction to a feeling and that it is reconnecting to the feeling that may be more revealing and potentially healing? It seems our true voice may be under a lot more layers than we had at first imagined.

  9. Like you Deborah I too ‘have met many wise children and many unwise adults’, including with some of the decisions I have made as an adult, myself at times.

  10. Re-discovering the truly natural and beautiful voice that we are all born with is a wonderful steppingstone into a world of expression and connection that supports us in all aspects of our life

  11. I agree I have often felt the pressure you speak of from society to behave or express in a certain way and the unseen threat that I can feel is often there if I step out of line and follow my heart rather than what society says is the ‘normal’ way of doing things. Slowly I am learning to trust and follow my heart and what I have discovered is that much of what we have been told and sold about human life is actually not true and does not stand up to loving scrutiny and investigation. We have just been following on, generation after generation, doing things the same way but we have not bothered to check why we are doing it and is it really helping humanity to live together in harmony or not.

  12. So very true we have made life about achieving and becoming someone, all the while we are (someone) already and simply need to live by this inner rhythm we know and feel.

  13. I love the word de-programming, it very aptly describes how very much we have bought into the belief that we need to be filled with knowledge instead of drawing from our inner knowing and learn to be in the world from there.

  14. Fitting in is a way of lessening our otherwise true and unique reflection that offers a point of difference and connection for others to remember and feel their own.

  15. So many conversations can be somewhat muted by the lack of connection or transparency and people measuring what they feel they can or cannot say. I have found that through Universal Medicine inspiring me to speak from my heart and to embody a willingness to be loving in expression and not hold back, the muting is overcome and deep connections in relationships are given permission to flourish.

  16. My husband and I were just talking about writing this morning and how what we were taught in school around punctuation and how you ‘should’ word something, has really stifled how we write as children and adults… being concerned with have we put enough punctuation in or has it been articulated properly really stops us from naturally expressing what is there to express. It’s seeing these restrictions we may be carrying around expressing and letting them go so our natural expression can be allowed through again.

  17. I always used to consider that those older than me were naturally wiser than me, putting them on a pedestal and then sitting at their feet grabbing any crumbs of wisdom that they shared. But eventually, and from learning the hard way, I have come to realise that “age does not always equate to wisdom,” I see around me adults who act in the most self destructive ways, with not a skerrick of wisdom in sight, and they are applauded by others for their wayward behaviours. And then I have seen young children who share their innate wisdom and are put down for it by adults who think they know better. We sure have things back to front in this world of ours. No wonder many people are struggling to live a life that in many cases doesn’t make sense.

  18. Staying true to ourselves and not being swayed by outside forces seems to be an ongoing choice, and the more we choose Truth the stronger that foundation builds for us. The outside forces may strengthen and /or become more wily but all the while we are growing in the power that this dedication brings.

  19. We are so often shocked by society or shocked in and around our circles of friends. If someone gets seriously sick or something happens it’s like we say we never saw that coming. What if and as this article is saying we create the blind spot from how we are in those relationships or communities? If we are all ‘good thank you’ then that’s the level we know each other at, ‘good’. What if the only reason we get shocked is because the basis of our relationship isn’t true? It maybe friendly, courteous etc but are we truly being ourselves or is it just ticking a box in the friendship column. I’m not saying when it counts we are all not there for each other but why do we leave it until “when it counts” doesn’t every moment with someone count? What we are bringing to life is that feeling or that living of one life, no downs or ups, goods or bad’s, just one movement to the next movement and no focus on one heading, it is all the all.

  20. Even if we do not speak the truth of how we are and how we feel it’s all still communicated. We may as well also just say it as it is.

  21. Great summary here: “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”. Everything is upside down and back to front in the way we live and how we are with each other and that is especially so around what is called ‘normal’.

  22. Yes we have allowed ourselves to be programmed but with growing awareness and caring attention we can alter these old debilitating patterns and begin to reconnect with a purity that has no room for these impositions and allows us to express from a deeper and more honest place.

  23. It is interesting how much we hold ourselves back and play small, just to fit in and not stick out, it shows how much people who shine get cut down and are put back into place out of pure jealousy and malevolence.

  24. Thanks Deborah, there is a wealth of wisdom contained in your blog and your many observations of life. I hadn’t considered til recently the effects of the “red pen” and being corrected and moulded in my expression in school. The education system separates people from their true expression by focusing on the regurgitation of knowledge, and by not placing the person first. Because of this when school work based on knowledge is corrected children can feel like who they are is being corrected.

  25. Thanks for bringing up the topic of the red pen. It’s actually seen as rude to write in red. Many schools in the UK have changed the colour to green, but it’s still the same message of getting our young to conform to a set way of being. There is a lot that needs changing in our current education system.

  26. I agree Deborah, at school we learn how to mould ourselves like others to fit in with their expectations of what they want us to be instead of learning how to truly engage with life from the inner quality of knowing and valuing ourselves in full first and supporting others to be able to express in the same way.

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