I am entitled to a “Voice”.
What does it mean to have a “Voice”? I suppose that it means something different to everyone. I certainly can’t say what it means to others. For me to be able to describe what it means to me, I need to talk about a recent situation in which my tongue was tied up in knots (like the fellow in the illustration) when I was trying to say what I wanted to say to a friend of mine. In the situation, I felt like my boundaries were not being honored and that when I tried to assert myself verbally I was not being allowed to speak. In fact, I was cut off by my friend. I told her to “let me finish”. That was not allowed either.
It seems as if her point of view was more important to her than my need to be heard. I was hurt. I was even quite surprised. We have been friends for a very long time and I believed that she held me in high regard. Her actions told me a different story. I have come to understand that “actions speak louder than words”. It’s taken me a long time to assimilate this knowledge and use it in my life. I tended to let people convince me of just about anything that they would say. People can say what they want to say while their actions may not reflect the words that come out of their mouths. This incongruency probably isn’t intentional. But, it is very necessary to see what is happening if you want to maintain your own sense of self in the company of people with strong personalities and strong views.
Was this belief that she did not respect me a real assessment or a figment of my imagination? I don’t know. I do know that I was willing to believe that it was a real assessment. It’s only natural to want to believe that your friends respect you and your beliefs. We want to think that our friends have our best interests at heart and that they want to support us. It’s possible that in their minds they do have our best interests at heart and that they are supporting us. Regardless of whether this is true in their minds, everyone has a right to be heard by people close to them. Once we state what we want to say, if we request their advice then advice can be given. Too often, people rush to give advice when it is not requested. That’s another matter for discussion.
As long as it is respectful and truthful, state your opinion. I do caution that like the people who do not let you have a Voice”, it is easy to fall into the trap of asserting your own beliefs without respecting the beliefs of others. We can be too forceful and close-minded due to a perceived need to be right and have someone agree with us. In other words, we expect people to not challenge our own opinions. I have been working on that error in judgement and action myself. Just remember not to let anyone silence you when it is a very personal boundary that needs to be drawn. You have the right to your personal boundaries and you have a right to be heard.