A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my sixteen year old son about women using their personal voice. It all started with him asking the question "why do girls say they are fine when they aren't?" I can pretty much guarantee that he didn't expect me to go into a rant about women, equality, and opportunity. But I did. Because as a boy he won't find it difficult to speak his mind. He probably can't imagine why someone would say something in order to avoid being perceived too emotional or bitchy. And he probably won't have to deal with people questioning his irritability to a certain time of the month. He won't be asked to play nice or to put his needs aside for others.
Instead, he will be rewarded for being assertive, direct, and even aggressive. So, yes I had that conversation with him. I explained to him that sometimes women don't feel safe to share their feelings and desires. They might have been coached by family traditions and society to smile and be pretty. They might not have role models showing them how to use their personal voice.
And in the end they might say "I am fine" when in reality they are hurt, scared or angry.
I know this isn't the case for every women out there. But I have been working with women for over two decades and its the case for most women. Most of us have had a time in our lives where we lost our voice. We stayed in jobs that treated us unfairly. We stayed in toxic relationships when we should have left. We jeopardized our own health for the sake of meeting others needs. We stayed quiet and said " I am fine" when in reality we weren't.
It's time for use to speak up, ladies. It's time we start using our voice.
Here are 3 easy ways to start developing your personal voice muscle:
1. Surround yourself with other women that are using their voice.
2. Practice stating your opinions in small ways with less charge. (picking the restaurant, the movie, the family adventure.)
3. Develop a disciplined mindset by using affirmations and mantras that support self-confidence.
Remember, your voice matters because you matter.