Thursday, July 26, 2012

Embracing Your Voice

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong. ~ Peter T. Mcintyre

Lately, whether it's my good friends going through some tough things or it's myself, the common denominator has been "trusting that inner voice."

Dipping into the personal realm for a second, as people know from following past blogs, there have been quite a few times in my history I have not trusted my inner voice or used my actual one. I've allowed things to happen that I wasn't OK with, that were violating or abusive. I freeze.

I freeze a lot.

Whether it was that time at 13 with that kid on my bus, whether it was that time, when I was 18, at that party ... or whether it was the things I allowed in the recent years. I keep asking myself why? Why do I ignore my intuition, why do I smother my voice and hand over all my power? Am I really a masochist? And why does this happen most often with men?

I'm working on the answers. I've been working on them, with help. And I'll get to the bottom of it eventually. I know enough by now to know it has a lot to do with self doubt, self worth, a victim complex perhaps.

I've made bad judgment calls in the past (like most people do at one time or another). But I punish myself for them. I convince myself that if I messed up before, how will I "know" not to mess up again? I let those prior mistakes or bad judgements and other people's opinions rule my judgments and my decisions. Well, I used to anyway. I'm trying to stop that more and more these days.

But lately, some of my friends have also struggled with holding their own, expressing their emotions, not letting others make them doubt themselves or withhold their inner voice. Like I've been trying to do for myself, I tell them to trust what they feel inside. Because a lot of times, it really IS all there. So often we don't self monitor our own responses to things, atmospheres, situations, people. Or we try to rationalize them.

For me, it's often the latter. But either way, I've been trying more and more to pay attention to what my intuition tells me. Doesn't mean I always choose to listen or I always quite understand it. But eventually, I'm almost always forced to.

However, I was told recently, progress is not a linear endeavor. You move forward a bit, you move to the side sometimes, you may take a step back here and there and then move forward again, but it's always in motion. And it comes back to whether or not you WANT to change and make progress and get to the root of things.

Growth is a passion of mine. It may be the hardest thing to do sometimes, to face things and grow from them, to peel back the layers of yourself, to be exposed and vulnerable, but along with making meaningful connections, it's what both fuels and terrifies me — the desire to learn and grow and expand, experience, make mistakes, fall down, get back up. 

I'm very proud of my friends. They are growing and facing things, too. I feel like we're swaying to the movement of each other. We are learning to trust ourselves and not always look to others for the answers or affirmation. Everyone has motives, some of them are as benign as wanting to help, while others may be selfishly driven ... or somewhere in between. As my friend once said, always consider the source and take advice with a grain of salt.

There's a Walt Whitman quote I'm reminded of: Re-examine all you have been told ... Dismiss what insults your soul.

Yet, despite the progress I am making, it does sometimes feel like it's at the pace of molasses. But as I try to keep in mind, I can't change behaviors or self defenses I've been using for 16, 17 years of my life overnight. And I'm not gonna lie, I still freeze sometimes. I still lose myself for a moment and feel like a little girl again, with stifled vocal chords, uncertain motives and perceptions.

However, it ties back into trust. And as I continue to trust myself, to look within myself for the answers and guidance as well as in the connections and signs around me, I will continue to grow and learn and take another step forward.

And so will my friends <3


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