Over the past months I have been blessed with the experience of working with many women to reclaim the sacred power of our true voices. I feel like it is an honor to be entrusted to hold that space and hear truths that have sometimes never been expressed outside of internal monologue. We work through some pretty heavy issues together and it's truly amazing to be a witness to that transformation. It always leaves me thinking about when I was younger and struggling to find my voice and my place.
Many years ago when I was a student, I was so shy that I barely spoke in class without prompting. You would never have believed back then that I would one day be leading groups through anything, let alone deep discussions about purpose and truth. I’d have ideas, and then when I went to raise my hand, my heart would start thumping and my throat would close up. Somehow, despite having had to meet the same requirements to get in as they did, I was convinced that my peers were all smarter, more insightful and more deserving of being there than I was. They all seemed so confident and I foolishly thought everyone but me had it all together. And that's a feeling that dogged me into adulthood.
But, boy, did I ever have it wrong! It took me a few decades to learn it, but one of the world’s best kept secrets is that everyone feels insecure sometimes. Everyone. Some are just better than hiding it than others. But I didn’t know that then and I was so afraid of not being enough that it often paralyzed me.
Luckily, college me had a professor who would watch closely, then gleefully pounce saying things like, “Martina’s got an idea! I see it in her eyes!” The first few times he did this to me, I was so flustered that I think I must have looked like the love child of a beet and a deer caught in the headlights, but eventually, I started to speak up on my own. And you know what? No one thought I was stupid, didn’t deserve to be there or any of the other nonsense that I feared they would think. And you know what? I'd be willing to bet that other people aren't as hard on you as you are on yourself either.
As uncomfortable as his attention sometimes was at the time, I will be eternally grateful to that professor, because he took the time to see the depth beneath my youthful shyness and insecurity and it changed me. Sometimes we all just need a little encouragement to get the ball rolling.
And that is the thing about using our voices and sharing our gifts - the more we do it, the easier it gets. Sometimes we just have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
And here's why:
The truth is that we are all here for a reason. We ALL have unique perspectives, gifts and insights and you are no exception.
The world needs you (yes, YOU!) and it needs your voice, so please share it! Trust me, everything opens up when you do!
“Who the hell do you think you are?” your darkest interior voices will demand.
“It’s funny you should ask,” you can reply. “I’ll tell you who I am: I am a child of God, just like anyone else. I am a constituent of the universe. I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me, and who labor alongside me. The fact that I am here at all is evidence that I have the right to be here. I have a right to my own voice and a right to my own vision.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear