So, I'm literally mute right now. Like I can't even whisper. Apparently I screamed "FREEDOM" too loudly all fourth of July weekend and I busted my whole voice box into red, white and blue confetti. And now, I am silent.
It was funny for the first 2 interactions of the day, but after 8 hours of just sitting and nodding and smiling and pantomiming, I'm over it. I want my voice.
Which, being someone who lives entirely in my own thoughts, made me think: how many people have lost their metaphorical voice? More importantly, how do you get it back??
I should define what I mean by "voice" in this particular instance: Your voice is your natural way of showing up in the world, if no one else had any say in how you do it. Would you be pensive and quiet? Would you be sharp and quick-witted? Would you be silly and exuberant? These are all completely valid voices to have--if they're true to who you are.
But as we get older, we get jobs, we experience failure, we protect ourselves from heartbreak, we adapt to our current reality and somewhere along the way, we lose bits and pieces of who we started out as. And while it's incredibly important to grow, I think it's just as important to check in and ask ourselves, am I different now because I want to be or because I thought I had to be? That is the key difference between becoming the person you want to be and becoming the person you think you have to be.
Take it from someone who was so terrified of being forgotten that she took control in every situation, regardless of wanting to or not. I thought I had to be in charge to be loved or to be heard. Now I understand that I just have to be my weird, emotional, intelligent self and success, happiness and love will always follow.
Learn about Thyself
Yeah yeah, we are all unique flowers, but also, you fit into a category. And so do I. Take some time to understand how you interact internally and externally with the world around you. Everyone has heard of the Myers-Brigg personality test; 16 Personalities is a free site to get some serious insight into your own behavior. While Myers-Brigg is more focused on how you interact with others, my personal favorite is the Enneagram quiz. It takes a look at your inner workings and how you process thoughts on a deeper level. Neither test are incredibly long and you get some great insight into things you may have forgotten or never known about yourself!
Over the course of 10 years, I've gone from an ENTJ to an ENFJ to now, an ENFP. This simply means that as I've gotten older, I've become more and more emotional, creative and open with people. And while there are two part of myself that have never changed (extraverted and intuitive), I love the person I've chosen to become, based on my life experiences and environment.
So see where you're at now and take these again in a year from now to see how/if you've changed and assess if that's where you want to be.
Choose your Reactions
I've read a thousand times over that the only thing we can control in life is our reaction to it. Now that you've taken a step back to really take a look at how you're currently responding to the world around you, CHOOSE if that's how you want to keep showing up! In my transformation to a more emotionally open person, I became TOO open and volatile. I had to learn how to reign that back in and respond to circumstances in ways that didn't send me totally into the deep end. And while I know emotionality is deeply rooted in who I am, I don't hide it because it makes some people uncomfortable and I don't let it consume me when I don't want it to, as best I can at least.
While I did not choose to get full blown laryngitis, I think we can all agree that we've felt voiceless or like we're showing up like someone else or how someone else wants us to.
Take back your voice. Learn about who you are right now and decide if that's who you want to keep being.
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