Welfare blog - Your Voice Matters
The Blurt it out Foundation has written this lovely piece that reminds us that our voice and what we have to say is important. So please give yourselves a moment and have a read.
How many of these additions to sentences sound familiar?
- “…I might have got it wrong, though.”
- “…I don’t know if that made any sense.”
- “…I’m probably just overreacting, sorry.”
- “…maybe it’s just me.”
- “…actually, it doesn’t matter, sorry”
- “…ignore me, I’m just being silly, sorry”.
Many of us have had times when communication has been difficult.
Perhaps we’ve experienced bullying. Maybe we’ve been unable to self-advocate when we’ve really needed to. We might be painfully shy.
We might struggle to speak when we’re anxious. Some of us are non-speaking and rely on apps or writing to express ourselves. Being in social spaces can be overwhelming, we might struggle to follow, process, and respond to conversations.
We may have been spoken over more times than we can’t count. Perhaps we’ve had our ideas ignored… then watched someone else take credit for them days later. Maybe our accent has been made fun of so often, that it’s now become a mix of all the places we’ve lived; a lifetime of attempting to blend in.
Others may have taught us (intentionally or unintentionally) that our opinions don’t matter as much as other peoples’. That our voice holds no importance. That our words are worthless.
- To our ‘bad day’ brain, an unanswered text can mean “you’re not important”.
- To our ‘bad day’ brain, someone speaking over us (even accidentally) can mean we should never have bothered to speak.
- To our ‘bad day’ brain, someone not hearing us can mean they don’t want to listen to us (ever again ever(!)).
With so many interactions denting our confidence, it’s not surprising that communication can feel tricky. Over time, our voice might get quieter. We might stop sharing our ideas. Message our friends less and less often. We might even reduce how much we post online. We might begin to think that we have nothing to say. That we’re boring. We might feel others have everything covered and there’s nothing we can add.
But our voice matters
The things we have to say matter. Our thoughts, ponderings, questions, opinions, and ideas matter. Nobody else has any quite like us.
Whether we share our ideas through writing, speaking, audio recording, music, art, doodling, sharing quotes, or using a communication device, they’re important. Other people want to hear them. (And those that don’t? They’re missing out).
We know how tricky it can be to start sharing our thoughts and ideas after a lifetime of low confidence, unkind comments, and a sense that nothing we share is of any value.
But you, are valuable. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, words, and insights are valuable. People want to hear what you have to share. Even the things you think are ‘different’ or ‘quirky’. In fact, often, they’re the most interesting ideas which can lead to the most in-depth, exciting conversations. Finding a place we feel safe can help us tentatively start to share our ideas again. To slowly practice speaking, writing, or creating again. Slowly, slowly, we can build ourselves up, regaining some confidence.
Because we deserve to feel confident. To believe that our ideas hold value. We deserve to know that people want to hear/read/see our ideas.
People enjoy it when we share our unique insights, observations, and questions about the world. Our ideas, thoughts, questions, experiences, and insights belong to us, but when we share them, they can prompt laughter, thought, pondering, understanding, and hope. They can create connections.
We don’t have to stay silent. We do not have to make ourselves smaller or shrink ourselves down. We are not invisible.
Our voice deserves to be heard.