Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Use Your Outside Voice

I have mentioned in the past that the universe tends to put things in our path at the exact moment we need them. In this case, I am referring to my inbox. I follow several inspirational websites through their newsletters, and admittedly, many of them end up being deleted because I just don’t have time to read them all. Occasionally though one grabs my attention and it is often because it finds me exactly when it will do me the most good. Today was no exception.

In the past, I wrote a post about voice lessons and how taking voice in college seemed to only make me lose my voice in the world. (See “Voice Lessons”) I found myself hiding whatever light I had in me under a bushel and hoping to fade into the wallpaper so as not to draw attention to myself. As I have battled depression over the years, this has continued to plague me. It is one of those chicken and egg scenarios… Did voice lessons and the daily stress of getting up on a stage to allow people to critique me lead to depression or was the depression already there and it merely came to the forefront during that time of my life? We may never know. And I have come to realize that placing the blame is not always necessary to find my way toward healing.

So I was scrolling through my inbox, deleting if the title didn’t catch my attention, when I came across a Daily Om entitled “Using Our Outside Voice.” I clicked on it and felt another piece of the puzzle click into place.

While I have worked on putting myself out there, and speaking up, I haven’t given much thought to this simple yet powerful tool. Using my outside voice does not, in this article, refer to yelling. I think people use that outside voice far too often instead of actually listening to each other. No, the article refers to letting some of your inner dialogue out into the world in an effort to bring understanding and better communication.

Everyone has an inner dialogue. If you are lucky, it is with a gentle and wiser inner guide. If you are like me, it is usually with a mean little inner critic that you spend much of your time trying to ignore. Either way, this inner dialogue reflects your experience with the world, your spin on things around you, your take on your relationships. Unfortunately, we usually keep it all to ourselves.

People who are trying to speak with us, or work with us, don’t have any idea what path you took to get to this point. If they know a bit about you, they may know your path wasn’t easy, but they don’t know all the nuances. I don’t think most people who meet me or work with me know that I have depression and anxiety. They don’t know my self-esteem suffers at the mercy of those inner critics at every turn. They can’t possibly know all the baggage or pre-conceived ideas we bring to the table at any given time. If we don’t open up a little of that inner dialogue they will never fully understand our position.

Now I am not saying you should spill every detail of your life story to someone who you run into in the produce section at the market. I am not suggesting that every conversation needs to have hours of back story leading up to it. But in the big conversations, the ones that matter, the ones we base major life decisions on – a little added insight from your inner peanut gallery may make the conversation much more productive.

By being a little freer about sharing our real inner thoughts and feelings, we open ourselves up to better communication and letting loose the creative power that letting our thoughts become reality can release. Words have energy. Words have the power to become truth. In releasing them instead of keeping them locked up we unleash that creative power into our lives.

For a few other examples of times when the universe knew exactly what I needed, see “Signs and Billboards,”  “A Monk in my Mailbox” and “The Monk Strikes Again.”

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