Everyone has a voice. Technically, our voice is the sound that comes out when we open our mouths to speak or sing.
But, what do people mean when they say we all “have a voice?”
“Having a voice” may mean different things to different people. For some people, it can mean being true to what you believe. There’s some truth to that, but for me, it also means standing my ground and saying no to unhealthy relationships and shady things.
That concept was especially true for me as I began to move away from a life of alcohol addiction. It was during that time I understood there were people and places I no longer wanted to (or needed to) be around. I also realized I was the only one who could remove myself from those relationships.
That’s when having a voice became really important to me. I knew I had to tell those people I could no longer hang around with them – and that’s what I did. In the end, my life shifted in a positive way because I made a stand and said “no” to bad relationships.
During my journey, I realized I had a voice. Still, I’ll admit that in the last year or so I haven’t always been the best at using it. Looking back I see that I began to let things slip by. And because I didn’t always stand my ground, I began to find myself in stressful situations with little, or no, peace.
More and more, though, I’ve been re-learning how to use my voice. And, more than that, I’m learning how to use it to make sure I stay on track in my day-to-day life.
The thing about using your voice is that sometimes it can mean not being very popular among some people. Usually, it happens with individuals that don’t want you to speak up.
There’s a problem with worrying about how others think of you, though. The fear of others opinions, or how you are perceived, can cause you to avoid speaking up about what’s important. In other words, it can cause you to let people disregard your feelings and run over your boundaries.
The thing I want you to know is that you don’t have to let fear of hurting someone’s feelings stop you from using your voice. Now let me be clear, I don’t mean you should carelessly or deliberately hurt someone with your words. Not at all!
I’m simply saying if the situation you’re in with someone does not line up with who you are and what you stand for, don’t be afraid to say “NO. I’m sorry, I can’t do that!” You are not responsible for their like or dislike of that statement. You are just using your voice to state your boundary. And trust me being clear about where you stand will save you – and sometimes them – a lot of hurt or stress in the long run.
This is important in every relationship. But it’s extremely significant when it comes to unhealthy relationships. Sometimes, unhealthy people will often push your boundaries because they don’t respect where you stand, or they don’t have boundaries of their own.
The thing is though, if you let them influence you to move on what you stand for, soon enough, you can end up in not so good situations. You may even find yourself acting in ways you normally wouldn’t. When that happens, you can be sure you’ve lost your power.
Your voice matters! In any relationship, it’s important that both people hold a place of equal value. Every relationship has give and take, but one voice should never ‘always’ dominant or get their way. There has to be balance.
So how do you make sure your boundaries are respected? There are a lot of ways to get your point across, but here are three things you can do to make sure your voice is heard in a way that is personal to you and helpful to others:
- Be unwavering in your voice – It sets a clear tone that you will not compromise what you believe.
- Let your yes be yes and your no be no – It clearly tells others what you will, or will not do.
- Don’t be afraid of an ending because it can also be a beginning. – If you cannot say “no” then the relationship is probably not healthy, and it may be time to move on.
One last word of advice… Withholding your voice sets both parties up for failure. Your voice is necessary to let others know where you stand and allows others to make educated decisions. If you withhold your opinion or thoughts then you are giving up your voice.
Remember, we train people how to treat us. If you can learn to say no, and clearly state what you need, your voice will be heard. I encourage all of you to use your voice more. It will empower you and keep the things you want to be established in your life intact!