Finding Your Own Voice in Recovery
Communication is key when you are in recovery. It is a time of rediscovering what is true for you. Reconnecting to your voice becomes necessary and vitally important during this time. After all, your voice is your vehicle for transmitting your truth into the world, and your truth is needed.
Coming out of addiction means coming out of disconnection. It can take a little while to sort through all the feelings that have been covered up. I know for me, post bulimia treatment, I felt like my feelings were on steroids. I could swing from joyfully happy to incredibly depressed and back again within a day. I was all over the place. In time things settled down and I found my footing. I started to get a better sense of who I was and how I viewed the world, which allowed me to start speaking up about my needs, desires, wants, and feelings.
Discovering Your Own Truth
Recovery means you must also recover your individual voice. It means taking the journey to find what is true for you, and not letting others influence your truth. My invitation is to start with getting in touch with your own voice in a deeper way. Start finding it within you, so that in time you can bring it into your relationships.
To find your authentic voice, you have to give yourself permission to not take responsibility for anyone else’s reality. This is profoundly liberating because you can finally let yourself off the hook for other people’s emotional reactions. The truth is, it’s their own perceptions that generate their viewpoints. This is why you can say the same thing to two different people and get completely different responses.
I distinctly remember how afraid I used to be to use my voice. I was that person that felt she needed permission to take up space and have an opinion that was all her own. I would feel panic throughout my entire body for days until I could finally work up enough courage to speak. I only knew how to confront people through writing, and when I did speak, I would speak in half truths. Those closest to me would probably laugh reading this because I am now basically known for being rather blunt.
What kept me motivated to keep strengthening my voice was the deep need I had to honor my own soul. I imagined my soul becoming weaker or stronger, depending on how I responded to challenges with others. When I used my voice, I became stronger. Every time I spoke up, I felt the deepest part of me cheering me on. I was no longer betraying my own evolution. In time, not using my voice was not even an option anymore.
Today, I find if I don’t speak my truth, I actually start to feel physically ill. We can increase our inner-strength so much that, if we dishonor ourselves by shoving our truth down, our body just won’t have it! I love that this is possible for all of us. This is true transformation.
Developing a Strong Voice
So how do you get from no voice to having a strong voice? The real answer is that there is no linear process. This is because life is not linear, nor is our growth and evolution. At times we will speak with conviction and clarity, justly honoring ourselves. Other times we will falter. This is okay because we can always find our way back to using our voice again. We will always have another opportunity to choose to use it.
Make yourself the focus, and pay attention to whether or not you are choosing to honor yourself in your interactions. Using your voice is really about how much you are able to honor yourself.-Lesley Wirth
The most helpful tip I can offer is to simply think of it as a practice. Make yourself the focus, and pay attention to whether or not you are choosing to honor yourself in your interactions. Using your voice is really about how much you are able to honor yourself.
If you are someone who has a hard time speaking up for themselves, the work becomes about giving yourself permission to have a voice. It is about recognizing that your feelings are just as important as everyone else’s. For you, reclaiming your voice is synonymous with reclaiming your self-worth and letting go of over-responsibility for other people. These are truly the precursors to reclaiming your voice.
Remember that you can start your practice in relationships where you already feel safe. Practice sharing what is true for you with those who you feel will allow you speak without judging you. As you gain confidence, start using your voice in more challenging situations or with those who may not respect what you have to say. If your main focus is to stay true to you, then that will be more important than their reaction. This is where the motivation lies. It is in the self-honoring choices. Take your power back. Speak your truth.
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