by Marie Guilloto Stuppard
Heart pounding, palms sweating, shallow breathing, and that churn, that fist in the stomach. All signs of the primal fight or flight response to something, someone, or a combination of circumstances. That something? An uncomfortable interaction. That someone could be anyone. Afraid of the fight, you flee. You walk away thinking that you should have, could have – done what? Said something? Taken action?
These are the daily feelings, thoughts, and actions of millions of people. This happens at home, in the office, and in social settings. Many of us are afraid to speak up, give feedback, and perhaps offend or alienate those we interact with on a regular basis. So, we exist and make nice while suppressing our true selves, our thoughts, and our feelings. Worse still, some of us wonder if we are being too sensitive.
Losing your voice means abdicating your power and not taking control of and managing your interactions. It happens subtly, gradually, and you convince yourself that you are being the bigger person. You find yourself vacillating between being the victim of someone else’s anger or the fixer of another’s problems and bristling with anger when others impose on your time. One day you realize that you have lost yourself and live to accommodate the needs of others. The story you tell yourself makes you feel better about who you are and drives your reactions to others. You quietly accepted and normalized behaviors that fit your internal narrative.
If this all sounds familiar, all is not lost. Read “Voice Lessons” in Coaching Perspectives X and learn how to regain your footing and find your voice. Learn the tips and techniques for analyzing your own behavior and identifying the patterns that trigger a particular response. “Voice Lessons” will empower you to use your voice to put you first in your own life.