Life Coach Question–How do I Find My Own Voice?
This month we've been talking about going within and finding your own voice, but sometimes that's easier said than done. When we've spent so much time trying to live up to our own and other people's expectations it's often hard to figure out at heart, what we really want and think. Here's some advice for separating out other people's voices you've internalized from your own.
- Reread your journal. It's easy to write journal entry after journal entry and then never look at them again. But your journal is a treasure trove of the real you. Sometimes we may say the same things over and over but never even realize it until we look back. Or the process of getting things out on to the page is traumatic enough that we don't realize what's significant until we go back and look it over.
- Name your voices. This isn't so you can convince yourself you're crazy. Naming the voices helps you identify a voice as someone else's if that's the case -- for example, if your inner critic is actually the voice of your mother, or the voice telling you your art is no good is your old college professor of twenty years ago.
- Listen. Your inner voice may be weak, but it will get stronger if it realizes someone is listening. When you're getting to know someone you let them talk, you're curious about them. You listen carefully to what they say and how they say it. Give yourself the same quality of attention.
- Don't judge. Often we hide our real selves because we've done it since we were little children trying to adapt to our families and environment. We hid away parts of ourselves because we didn't think they'd be accepted or were afraid what would happen if we revealed ourselves. Because of that, these parts may not be easy for us to see now, and we may still look at them as something that should be pushed under the rug. Whatever comes up, don't judge it. Do you think you sound selfish, whiny, full of yourself? Let these parts of you come out onto the page and respect them. See what they have to say.
- Ask multi-layered questions. If you ask yourself what you think or feel about something, you'll get an answer, but if you ask yourself why you think or feel that thing, you'll find out a lot more. Often if you don't have an answer to "why," it's because you've just internalized someone else's opinion. This is good to find out.