Have you ever felt like you are not heard? I definitely have felt this way, and still do on occasion. You know that feeling where you feel so alone, and everything you are saying, is just not being understood? It is as if you are speaking another language. You are communicating it effectively, like you have always been told to do, and it doesn’t seem to be getting across to others. It makes you feel like no one understands you. I would even take it a step further and say that it makes you feel stupid. I would feel like my words had no value. Unfortunately, it led me down a rabbit hole of bad thoughts and being hard on myself. Slowly, I began to keep my thoughts to myself, and my voice began to be silenced.
What do I do with all of these thoughts and not a safe place to share them? Now, I had a few people I could tell some things to, but I still felt like I had to partially agree with them at the very least. I didn’t feel secure in my thoughts, and agreeing with them made me feel smart, and a part of the collective “intelligent” ideas clan. But that little part in my gut didn’t feel right and it made my anxiety and depression worse. I knew I had to figure out a way to feel confident in my thoughts. This stemmed from childhood and throughout my life, and I knew that people pleasing really only pleased the wrong people. But was I ready to be authentic and genuine from the inside out? Was I ready for people to not like the real Erin?
I knew that I would never be ready, but I also knew I couldn’t live like this. Physically and mentally, my body was trying to tell me something. I had ideas that needed to be heard. I knew I was a genuine person. But I just didn’t know how to stop performing. I didn’t even realize I was doing it most of the time. If I ever wanted to be heard, I was going to have to do a few important things.
• Start speaking my truths: When I was able to make my voice heard, I felt the weight being lifted off of me. It felt nice to be able to speak freely; well, that is to myself and a select few people. See, I wasn’t secure with sharing my thoughts with everyone. I now know that is a good thing, but at the time, I felt like I should overcompensate for not voicing my thoughts for so long. This brought back the same cycle of people that didn’t appreciate them, and I allowed them to control what I said. It made me feel weak, and I was disappointed in myself. Trying to change generational and personal patterns does not happen overnight, and it is so difficult. I felt defeated, and wanted to crawl back into my safe space and be left alone. I knew that wasn’t the answer. It wasn’t what I said that was necessarily the problem, but rather the people I was surrounded by in my life.
• Taking inventory on the people in my life: Sometimes, you can pick the people in your life, and other times you can’t. I tended to pick the people that wanted to silence me. I wasn’t an equal in their eyes, but rather someone they can take out their issues on. Instead of walking away, I chose to stay and try to change them. I thought that they would comprehend what I was saying, but the reality, is that it hurt me even more, and once again, quieted my voice. It was as if I was turning into one of them. It was time to let go of people and put up boundaries for the rest. Little by little, I had to do it scared, but do it anyways. I had to say no and stick up for myself. I was no one’s puppet, and it was time to surround myself with other like-minded people. This proved harder than I thought. I still work on this, and realizing it truly is about quantity over quality. It is imperative to have that support in order to feel the added confidence that they will give you as you go on your journey of being heard.
• Showing up for myself every single day: One of the most important parts of going on a healing journey and one of getting back to you and your roots, is to show up every single day. This can be in the smallest way, but show up and keep the progress and promises going. This will create a snowball effect in which you will feel more comfortable in your own skin and using your voice. You will have your hard days so be gentle with yourself, but keep moving forward.
• Saying yes when I mean yes, and saying no when I mean no: Part of this journey is also learning to say what you mean. This seems so easy and obvious. But when you have a history of trauma, people-pleasing, etc. it feels draining just thinking about saying what you mean directly. I believe that’s due to the fact that we fear peoples’ reactions, and we as humans, don’t enjoy getting uncomfortable and getting out of our comfort zones. But when we start to do it, and get past the initial discomfort and push back, it allows for us to live a happier and more authentic life. No one can take that away from us. And when you begin to feel those times of genuineness, inner peace, and present happiness, it makes all of the hard work and crappy past worth it. I like to remind myself that half of the people you meet will not like you anyways. This is a true story. So, you might as well learn to be you and like you. You will be surprised at all the wonderful, unique, and beautiful qualities you will be met with on this journey 😊