Twice today I have seen the bravery of individuals speaking about life experiences that are not easy to share and are not easy to be heard. I myself spent my morning catching up with someone who has been in my life for a long time, listening to her talk about her day and her struggles to be seen reminded me of a younger version of myself. Over giving to be loved, not feeling the strength to ask for what I wanted or to say how I felt whether it was welcomed or not.
I was taught from a very young age that I was not to be seen or heard unless it was absolutely necessary. This skill was necessary to survive. I took that survivalist skill into my adulthood and it translated into me not having the ability to speak my feelings no matter the situation or outcome. I have over the last 5 or so years been able to bravely give myself permission to speak. It is not always easy, actually sometimes it is downright scary! I have learned the following by exercising this new skill:
I will still be alive after the last word is spoken
I am loved and lovable even if what I have to say is not popular
It is way scarier to think about saying it than actually saying it
My feelings are important and relevant
I actually enjoy sharing myself when I am asked to
My listening skills have gotten a lot better now that I am not afraid to be listened to
I am trying to be mindful of truly listening to others when they speak to me. Giving them my eyes so that they know I am engaged. I am also working hard at not offering my words in response unless asked. Sometimes all I want is to be heard so I can only imagine that others must feel the same. Speaking for me has built a strong confidence in my ability to articulate my life in a way that paints a picture of who I truly am instead of who I so desperately want to be. I am grateful for all you listeners that give me the opportunity to talk!