“You’re so soft-spoken.”
“Are you a shy person?”
“You should speak up.”
“Jenia, do you have anything to say?”I have heard these things my WHOLE life!! I’m not much of a talker. Never have been. Am I quiet? Absolutely. But let me explain. I’m usually quiet because I’m observing. I’m taking in everything around me and processing what I’m seeing, feeling and hearing. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am. Some people can quickly adapt to a particular environment. Not me. I have to know what I’m getting into before I fully engage. For the longest time, I was so insecure about my quiet nature. This blog is about how I found my voice and how you can find yours. Finding your voice does not mean you find a whole bunch of stuff to talk about and talk about people’s ears off. Finding your voice to me means being confident in who you are, unapologetic of your values, and staying true to your convictions.
No one ever listens to someone who does not believe what they are saying. I taught Elementary school before taking time off to stay at home with my boys and I can tell you first hand, that from a very young age people (even little people ) hear what you’re not saying. What do you mean? I’m glad you ask. Before I became a full-time teacher I was a substitute teacher. Everyone has had a “sub” before. They have the hardest job in education I believe. I say that because substitutes have to read a script they have no passion about, one they didn’t write, one they may or may not have any knowledge about, and on top of that expect students to listen to them. Not to mention standing up in front of a class at the scrutiny of children anywhere from 5 to 18 years old. Depending on what grade it is, that experience can be very nerve-racking. Unless they are serious about they’re job like I was, subs usually end of babysitting. Trust me I have had those days as well. Let’s be honest. There is no learning going on when there is a sub in the classroom. Kids don’t listen to subs because they don’t communicate the voice of the teacher the way the teacher does. A teacher who teaches a particular subject has studied that subject and figured out how to teach it in a way that is engaging and meaningful. That is what it is like to find your voice. The only difference is that your life is your subject and you are the student learning as you go.
When you find your voice you become a teacher in a sense who can teach those you come in contact with by sharing your experiences, your beliefs, and the things that shape your worldview. As you navigate through life, you continually learn more and more about who you are and who you are not. For me, I’ve become comfortable being the quiet one in the room. I’ve tried being the “talker” and it’s just too much work. It’s exhausting. It’s not me. And while I do not consider myself to be soft-spoken or shy, I’m okay with being reserved. So what if it takes a while for me to warm up. I’ve tried to be that person who doesn’t meet a stranger-meaning they can talk to anyone at any time- and it always ends up being awkward. What I’m getting at is trying to be someone else is like being a substitute teacher who never gets the attention of the class because he or she is reading a script they didn’t write. No one in the world can be Jenia Marie better than me. There are no substitutes. Finding your voice is being confident with every part of who you are. If you’re not the talkative type like me be confident in that. If you’re a talker, don’t shy away and try not to talk so much. Keep talking. You talkers might have to make more of a conscious effort to listen, however. But whatever you do, be authentically you. People appreciate those who are confident in who they are.
Discovering what you value will shape your life in a major way. According to Webster’s Dictionary, your values are your standard of behavior. Values are the things that shape what you believe, it steers your course of direction in life, and it comes out in everything you do and say. I value faith, family, personal growth, and relationships to name a few. These things are evident in everything I do. It comes out in everything I say and how I behave. Because I value family, you’ll probably hear me talk a lot about my kids and my husband the things we do and conversations we may have. You’ll see my post about family. I read a lot of books about family because I value family. I make no apologies for choosing family over some other things that are of no value to me. What comes out of you without you even trying? How do you spend your time? What do you give your money to? And what almost always has your attention? What things are you unwilling to compromise on? When you find those things, then you know what is of value to you. Make no apologies for it. These are the things that you hold close to your heart.
And last but not least is taking who you are and what you believe and remaining true to your convictions. There is a scripture in the bible that says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” ( James 1:8) It means that you can’t say one thing and then act differently. People do not appreciate that at all. I’m reminded of my college days where I was just new to living on my own. I could do whatever I wanted, be whoever I wanted to be and had no one to tell me how to behave. I quickly learned that the one thing I couldn’t do is say one thing and then live a different life. It’s not genuine. It’s not authentic. And people easily pick up on the double lifestyle. And to live life with no convictions is dangerous. Without convictions, you have nothing to stand on. It’s like building your life on sand. When storms come your life will have nothing to keep it grounded and you’ll easily be washed away with every changing tide. My convictions are now firmly rooted in my faith. I make no apologies for it. And I don’t shy away from it. It has become apart of every decision I make, and how I govern my life.
Let me hear your voice in the comments! I would love to read your thoughts!