The human voice is the organ of the soul.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I took a day trip with my friend Joseph and his sister Geri along the magnificent Big Sur coastline – a breathtaking journey winding along many curves overlooking a passionate sea and rugged coast. Every now and then we would ask Geri what she wanted to do. “Would you like to get something to eat?” we asked her. “If you are going to stop, I will,” she answered. “Would you like to have a look at this beach?” we asked. “Whatever you like,” was her response. To my surprise, Geri never stated her opinion.
As our day went on, I realized that Geri had lost her voice of self-expression. She did not know how to ask for what she wanted. Geri had been married for 40 years to a man who made all the decisions for the family. The couple had simply established their relationship on an unspoken agreement that he chose and she went along.
In my seminars, I have encountered many women in the same position. They get married at a young age, live for their husband and children, and eventually become strangers to their own heart’s desires. A similar phenomenon occurs among men who lose their wives at an elderly age. Men who become dependent on their wives often die soon after their wife dies.
The most powerful way to break the long-time habit of swallowing your opinion is to practice speaking your truth regularly. When you are asked what you want, do not utter the pat answer that wants to automatically roll off your tongue. Instead, pause for a moment and tune into your honest response. Find the place in you that feels good about a particular choice and verbalize it. You might ruffle a few feathers or ultimately not get your choice, but in most cases, you will end up far ahead of where you would have been if you did not speak up.
Is your voice fresh and alive, or have you lost it?
How might you empower yourself by giving voice to your true thoughts, feelings and choices?
I speak my truth and ask for what I want.
The universe responds brilliantly.
Alan Cohen, M.A., is the author of 24 popular inspirational books, including the best-selling The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the award-winningA Deep Breath of Life, and the classicAre You as Happy as Your Dog? He is a contributing writer for the New York Times #1 bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, and his books have been translated into 24 foreign languages. His work has been featured on Oprah.com and in USA Today, The Washington Post and 101 Top Experts. Alan’s radio program Get Real is broadcast weekly on Hay House Radio, and his monthly column From the Heart is featured in magazines internationally.
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