Archive for May, 2013

Finding Your Voice (part 1)

Date posted: May 6, 2013

Hello, and welcome to my website and very first blog. I had been thinking of what to write for some time and decided to go with what was continually presenting itself. I am going to discuss how difficult it can be sometimes to speak your truth, whatever that may be. Around me I encountered occasions when I needed to respond to, ask something, or simply say ‘no thanks’ to others and was realising it could be a struggle. I started wondering why can saying what you feel and need to, be so difficult? What are the things that can make it difficult to express oneself as fully and genuinely as possible?

This issue is one of the most fundamental aspects of the work counsellors do, arguably firstly with themselves and then helping and encouraging clients to find their own voices, develop their range of expression and speak their truths. Depending on who you ask there are several reasons why doing this can be difficult. Reasons might include: whether what is said is heard as intended or misconstrued, if it will be important enough or even at all? And is it the talker or listener deciding?

I am additionally interested in the part courage plays, as it is sometimes the very thing we need so that we are able to speak genuinely about what we feel or need. However, courage can be the very thing we lack. For this reason we can talk ourselves out of speaking our truths by telling ourselves, ‘it didn’t matter anyway’ or ‘the timing wasn’t right’. Sure, and maybe there is some truth in our rationalisations but maybe we have to find the courage to believe that what we have to say is of value to ourselves if not to others. Which might require that we begin learning how to create the time, opportunity and other conditions we need in order to say what is important to us.

Another common aspect I suspect is difficulty knowing how to say something, as well as knowing what to say so we don’t become ‘lost for words’. In his book ‘What Do You Say After Saying Hello’, Berne writes about the ‘transactions’ of communications. He suggests we can find ourselves fumbling for appropriate responses because of what we have come to expect from social interactions. For example when somebody asks ‘How are you?’ Most of us have learnt to respond ‘Fine’. However, what if, ‘I feel angry, betrayed or like killing myself’ are truer responses? Perhaps then, in most interactions people do not feel safe to either express their truth or receive the other’s truth.

I surmise it is because to be genuine and to speak one’s truth requires a trusting relationship where it can be heard, acknowledged and valued. It requires degrees of intimacy that enables conversations to have depth, meaning and authenticity. I wonder if intuitively we know this and that is why most conversations are kept at surface levels.

In my experience of counselling relationships however, clients are searching for more than surface conversations albeit sometimes anxiously. It is as if amongst all that is discussed there is an additional need and search for one’s own ‘right’ words to describe one’s experience of confusion, pain and joy.  I question if this is a search for individual truth, a need I recognise as being meaningful to myself and others. I hope you find the courage in discovering yours.

Berne, E. (1974) What Do You Say After You Say Hello. London. Transworld Publishers.

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