Finding Your Own Voice
May 26, 2014
I wanted to give you all something to think about when it comes to your emotional wellness…finding your own voice. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about, especially as my own voice has been louder and softer at different stages of my life.
Growing up as the youngest of four children in my family and being a first generation born Indian-American, I’ve had my successes as well as struggles in finding my own voice throughout my life. Since I’m the baby of my family, I’ve always been the one who everyone wants to protect and take care of. While I love and appreciate that so much and am so thankful to have such an incredibly loving and supportive family, it also has made it challenging at times to figure out what I truly want in a situation because so many people have opinions of what they think I should or shouldn’t do because they want the best for me. I’ve always been someone who wants to please everyone and make them happy and proud of me, therefore, I sometimes push aside my own thoughts and ideas for fear of disappointing the people I love.
Also, juggling the cultural differences and expectations of being Indian as well as American, has made it hard at times to find my own voice. Being born in the land of opportunity in the U.S., I’ve grown up in an environment that supports pursuing your dreams, working hard, achieving success academically and professionally, focusing on your own needs and making yourself happy. While the Indian upbringing I’ve had also very much supports many of these ideas, it also places a huge emphasis on putting the needs of your family ahead of your own. That core difference has sometimes made it difficult for me, personally, as I try to balance being a traditional wife and mother with being a modern-day working woman.
My own voice was softer in my early schooling years while growing up under the roof of my parents and siblings, got louder as I went to college, graduate school and when I was traveling, pursuing my career and living on my own in my 20’s and has fluctuated between loud and soft throughout my 30’s, after having my own family with my husband and children, continuing to pursue my career and trying to meet everyone’s needs, including my own.
These are some of my personal experiences with finding my own voice. What are some of your experiences? How have they fluctuated for you throughout the different stages of your life?
As I’m now in my late 30’s, I’ve learned that balance is the key when it comes to finding your own voice and meeting the needs of others as well. In my opinion, here are some steps we can all take:
1. In any given situation, think about your gut reactions to things, including your true and honest opinions, ideas, thoughts and desires
2. Then really listen to and consider the needs of others in the situation, including what they might think or desire and determine what the similarities and differences are with your own opinions
3. In the end, make your own decisions based on your needs as well as the needs of others and trust yourself
4. Note that these steps won’t always be perfect and sometimes your needs may conflict with the needs of others, but try your best to do what you think is right, strive for as close to a win-win situation as possible, live with your decision and adjust in the future as necessary
It won’t always be easy and sometimes you may have to put the needs of others ahead of your own for a period of time, especially if you’re a parent and/or married or in a relationship, but in order to be a truly fulfilled and whole person, you have to be able to at least find your own voice and know what you truly think and want in life. No else can do that for you…
That’s it for today, my friends. Enjoy the day, appreciate it’s symbolism and find your own voice! Until next time…