Speak Up, Be Heard

How do you break an ingrained habit of not speaking your truth? All too often the pressure of parental expectations, peer pressure and societal norms can be such a powerful force, preventing your uniqueness, wishes and inner knowing from being voiced. Is it fear of derision, rejection or even failure that may hold you back from reaching for the stars and following your innermost desires, dreams or aspirations?

Conforming to the norms and expectations of others is draining and often results in playing roles, depending upon particular situations. I know how it works. I played the game for about forty years, not realising just how destructive it is to wellbeing. Actually breaking free from the game playing routine was tough as I held onto fears of being derided. Not being heard or understood is debilitating to the psyche. Feeling different was one thing but actively being scorned, even bullied, for perceived differences wasn’t something that I was keen to welcome into my life. It was easier to play the game, figuring out what others expected and then engaging in role playing, somewhat like being a chameleon.

It all changed when I made the decision to leave the education sector and apply for a position in a government agency. All I knew was I could no longer continue with my teaching career. Unexpectedly a very senior person in the system shared that he’d mentor me in the process – and he did an excellent job in more ways than he’ll ever know. A simple technique he shared for responding to questions from an interview panel was the key for my truth to gradually being spoken and shared with others.

Simply put, he encouraged that I spend time in front of a mirror where I was to pretend to be responding to the kinds of questions that would be asked by any interview panel. What I rapidly discovered is the importance of facial expression, intonation, lucid speaking, appearing confident and more. The more I practiced in front of a mirror the stronger within I became.

It doesn’t matter what the issue or concern is, this technique can be applied to practically all situations. If you’re gay and are fearful of sharing this openly, if your career preference doesn’t match parental expectations, if your interests do not dovetail with friends’ preferences, or if you are fearful of fully expressing your feelings to someone in a position of authority, or to a loved one, or to simply learn how to say “no” to people this simple technique can work wonders.

Figure out what you need to say. Statements beginning with… “When such and such happens I feel…..” are empowering. No blame, use self empowering language. Spend a lot of time in front of a mirror rehearsing. Observe your facial expressions and body language. Hear the tone of your words strengthen the more you practice what you need to say. When the day comes and you finally need to speak up, to own your truth it’s highly likely you won’t express yourself exactly as you’ve practised. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’ve begun to break the habit of holding back, of not living in your truth.

The first time you say “no” or express your difference will be the toughest. After that it’ll become easier and the need for rehearsals will lessen.

Becoming authentic will eventually be your M.O. and from that there will be further growth and shifts in awareness. Just taking that first step of fully expressing your truth is probably the toughest. I promise it get easier. It’s a process, it’s part of this journey we call life.

 

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Motivation and Inner Promptings

Night after night I awoke any time between 2 and 4am with words tumbling through my head. I would become consciously aware of the words in the middle of a sentence and would follow them intently, attempting to figure out what the heck was going on. After a few nights it became apparent that either my sub-conscious or higher self was writing my life story.

Okay…. I had been told numerous times by clients and friends that I needed to write my life story, but like most people didn’t believe that anyone would be interested. I certainly wasn’t interested, why would anyone else be? From my perspective it was history and a somewhat painful history so there really wouldn’t be any point in doing a re-hash of the old memories.

Regardless of my conscious perceptions the mental writing continued, night after night and it was relentless. As with all things there comes a point when it’s time to surrender and accept the inevitable. At that point in time I was living on the land, living very simply, doing lots of physical work and in conditions that were somewhat primitive with no internet and erratic phone connection.

After a few weeks of this mental writing I knew there was no option. It was time to find a small place, with telecommunications access and to set myself up to write – which is exactly what happened. The book basically wrote itself. The words poured out as if of their own volition. The clarity and lucidity of the memory recall astounded me because consciously I would have been challenged to remember everything…..yet as the words formed on the computer screen I found the details of my recall quite astounding, as if I was back there, in that space, that place and time.

Having spent so many years purging old, painful emotions and memories I didn’t expect my body to respond to the writing, but it did and in a big way. At times I found myself crying and hurting so badly over events and situations that I’d thought had been healed. My stomach hurt with tension, it was even difficult to continue writing at times. But somehow that inner drive kept me at it. Overall, it didn’t take very long to write and I felt purged, cleansed and definitely much lighter once it was completed.

Was it my intention to get the book published? It actually wasn’t as going through the process healed whatever still needed to be healed. Yet, at the same time not publishing the book would have meant that the whole process wasn’t complete. And, somehow the whole process has flowed effortlessly and seamlessly – an indication that all is as it’s meant to be.

However, if there’s one thing I can highly, highly recommend it’s that writing one’s life story is extremely cathartic and healing. It’s liberating and while it involves the resurfacing of stored pain it ultimately allows the deep seated wounds an opportunity for expression and release, resulting in new-found feelings of release and freedom. Not all life stories ever get into print but ultimately it’s the resultant release of old, painful memories that is the reward. By the way, I’ve used journaling as a means of releasing stored pain and that also is a letting go and healing process.

A Square Peg: Conformity Isn’t An Option has many levels to it. When I commenced writing there were no preconceived ideas about what should or should not be written. As I said, the book wrote itself. It’s basically about the importance of honoring the self, of breaking free from the bonds of conformity (which is often much harder than imagined), and about following the heart’s desire – even when society and people close to you don’t understand or accept what is happening. Ultimately I hope, and trust, that my story is an inspiration to those brave souls who also resist conforming to the ‘norm’ and who also have to come to terms with their oddities, quirkiness, weirdness etc!