Finding our authentic voice

Standing out is a social risk. But being authentic may demand it. Photo by Christophe Maertens on Unsplash

WHY ARE WE SILENT?

We often remain silent about the things that concern us. Sometimes it’s a good thing. If our thoughts are only half-formed, then we need time to develop them. If negative emotions are leading us, then we need time to regain our inner peace. But sometimes we are silent because of fear.

WHY DON’T WE SPEAK OUT?

Speaking out involves running the risk that others will reject us. In childhood, our parents’ respect for us may have been contingent on our obedience. This may have conditioned us not to speak out against the grain. We may have grown up feeling safer not sticking our neck out.

THE LEGACY IN ADULTHOOD

So, when we are adults, we hold back from speaking out against injustice. We see someone being mistreated, and we decide to go along with it. We experience lack of accountability, and we let it go. Our fear of standing out socially becomes stronger than our love of speaking out socially.

THE PRESSURE TOWARDS COMFORT

It is true that we may be rejected for our views. History is full of martyrs to causes, individuals who suffered for their beliefs. Biologically, humans have enormous inner pressures towards comfort.

THE HAPPINESS OF AUTHENTICITY

But sometimes the discomfort of inauthenticity is stronger than the discomfort of social rejection. Put the other way round, sometimes it is more comfortable to speak with an authentic voice, even if that authentic voice puts us at odds with those we depend on.

WILLINGNESS TO STAND OUT

Today, I will consider what I really think. If I hold a value precious, I will try to live up to it, even if others around me disagree. If I see injustice, I will try to defend those being treated unjustly. I will try to overcome my childhood training, which taught me to be quiet. I will try to overcome my fear of standing out.

JUST FOR TODAY

Just for today, I will see what happens if I stick my neck out for the poor, the bullied, the forgotten. I will try to hold accountable those with wealth, power and knowledge. I will be willing to stand out socially, in return for the happiness of alignment with kindness and wisdom.