Maybe your voice doesn’t roar. It doesn’t stick its arm straight up—with conviction—in a classroom. It doesn’t impatiently wave its hand. It has more questions than answers. It doesn’t stand on the stage with a microphone. It never made the debate team.
Maybe on most days your voice is in the corner at the back of the room. Maybe on most days your voice is a whisper. So faint that you blink, and you miss it.
Maybe it’s a “hello. Excuse me. I don’t mean to bother you. I am, aren’t I? Bothering you? I’m sorry. It’s just that there’s been something I’ve wanted to tell you…Oh, never mind. It can wait. I don’t mind. Waiting…”
This small voice may seem insignificant, because it isn’t big or bold or decisive. Because sometimes it shakes and quivers and takes a long time to spit out a sentence.
But your voice always deserves attention. It always deserves to be listened to. Because your voice is important, even when it’s soft or scared or hesitant or confused. Maybe especially then.
Your voice is your thoughts. Your feelings. Your concerns. Your deep desires. Your needs. Your “that doesn’t feel right,” and “I’d like less of this and more of that,” and “this could be better,” and “something needs to change,” and “I don’t feel safe here,” and “I’d like to try this,” and “this doesn’t fulfill me,” and “that person doesn’t treat me the way I want to be treated.”
Even if it’s a sigh. A gasp. A groan. A few words.
Your voice, even when it’s quiet, when it’s a whisper, speaks volumes.
The key is to be open enough to hear it. To reconnect to it daily. To take the time to be curious, to explore, to wonder, to ask, how are you doing? how are you feeling? what’s been bothering you lately? what do you need right now? what isn’t working? what is working? what feels really good? what doesn’t?
The key is to be kind. To be patient. To be understanding and gentle. Because our voices grow louder when there’s space for them to share. When there’s quiet and stillness—even a few minutes of contemplation. When we say, “yes, I am listening. Yes, you count. Always. Tell me, what you want to say. Tell me as slowly as you need to. Tell me with clumsy, messy words. I don’t mind…”
What do you want to say? To whom?