Your voice is special. It’s a verbal reflection of who you are. Children often express themselves openly and honestly, unafraid to say what’s on their mind in a way that comes naturally to them. Over time, so many people lose authenticity to the need to comply with the expectations of others, please the crowd and make a particular impression.
Do you feel frustrated that you can’t quite say what you want? Do you prefer to be liked and accepted rather than respected? Do you hold back for fear of upsetting someone, being hated or trolled? Are you overly apologetic or do you compensate for others’ intolerance?
Maybe you find it hard to access your intuition, are indecisive, don’t know what you want and bend to others when you know it’s not right for you.
If you have experienced any of these things, it’s time to rediscover your true voice.
8 ways to find your true voice
There is no magic formula for discovering your voice, no rules or set time it will take but there are many things you can do. Experiment and find the best way for you.
- Accept yourself – There is only one you. You have a unique blend of experiences, talents and attributes that no one else has. The first step to finding your voice is to accept who you are and celebrate what makes you unique. You may find repeating an affirmation like ‘I love and accept myself’ regularly, helps you embrace yourself.
- Don’t imitate – Although it can be inspiring to look up to people who are masters in their field and learn from them, avoid imitating them in the hopes this will make your voice great. For years I read my dad’s Wilbur Smith novels and tried to emulate the style and language, but it didn’t work. I was a teenage girl, not Wilbur Smith! I bounced around from Danielle Steel to Dean Koontz, but it was only when I dropped the imitation and wrote what I enjoyed that I found my voice.
- Spend time in stillness – As one of the most common reasons for losing your voice can be the noise that comes from the world we live in, silence and stillness can be the perfect cure. Sit in a quiet place or head out for a peaceful walk and ‘watch’ your thoughts float in and out of your mind without judgement. Listen to the voice that carries them. Listen what it has to say, good and bad. Tune into your intuition.
- Journal – One of the safest places to explore your voice is in a journal. No one else will read your words (unless, of course, you choose to let them) so you’re free to say whatever you want in the way you desire. Let the words pour out without editing them in your head or on the page. Your voice will reveal itself over time and, as you gain a greater connection with it, you’ll find it more natural to be yourself in other settings.
- Step outside yourself – Do you find yourself being critical to yourself in your head in a way you just wouldn’t be to others? Or, do you find it hard to see yourself objectively? Step outside your head for a moment and imagine standing a metre or so away from your body, observing yourself. What do you see? What do you hear? Explore your observations in a notebook. Celebrate the things you love and, if there are areas you’d like to approve, know that you can grow. Talk to yourself kindly.
- Tap into a passion – It can be easier to express your true self when talking about something you are passionate about such as a topic, theme or an emotive subject like an injustice you have witnessed. Write about something that fills you with passion and notice how you express yourself when you are not self conscious but wrapped up in something you care about.
- Try something new – Stepping out of your comfort zone into something unfamiliar encourages you to experiment and express yourself in new ways. It can lead to fresh insights into yourself. If you love writing, try something different, for example blog posts instead of stories, poetry instead of prose, or articles instead of books.
- Be fearless – When you’re ready to share your true voice with others, you might write a social media post, an article, a story, a poem, give a talk or simply have a heart to heart with a friend over coffee. Accept that not everyone will agree with you and that’s okay. What you have to say is valid regardless of the opinions of others. Get comfortable with being you no matter what anyone thinks. Have faith in your voice.
You’ll know you’re finding your true voice when your words come with greater ease. This may happen when you least expect it. You find yourself in a natural flow that feels almost too good to be true. That’s because you’re not having to edit yourself in your head before you write or speak in order to comply with what other expect of you. Yes, you’ll still need to be sensitive and adapt a little to certain environments, but you can always be you.
You may also develop traits that you become known for, no matter how small. For example, ‘fabulous’ is one of my favourite words and creeps into most of my articles. Regular readers have said they can ‘hear me saying it’ in their minds. That’s my writer’s voice at work.
Be proud of your true voice and let confidence radiate from within.