In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the reasons people are afraid to use their voice and the 7 steps to overcome the fear and “use your voice.”
First a quick update:
“The Physical Pain Of Rejection, Loss & Heartbreak”
Yes, the breakup actually feels like physical pain. The rejection feels like actual heartache. Here is the scientific explanation.
“Female hysteria & origins of the vibrator”
19th century doctors and psychologists believed that women were victims of physical, mental and emotional symptoms & disorders because there was something wrong with their uterus and organs. Watch the video!
Now, let’s talk about the reasons people are afraid to use their voice and the 7 steps to overcome the fear and “use your voice.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t agree with you”, she said looking down.
‘Why would you feel sorry? Why did you just apologize?’ I replied.
“I don’t know.”
‘You began your statement of disagreeing with me by apologizing for disagreeing with me. Why? And you looked down, which, is a sign of feeling weak, guilty or submissive.’
“I’m just not good at speaking up.”
‘We need to help you to use your voice. This is a common symptom and result of having experienced abuse in childhood.’
Of course, it doesn’t take childhood experiences of abuse or an alcoholic, neglectful or angry parent to instill the fear of using your voice.
A parent who believes that “Children should be seen and not heard” will teach a child that his/her voice is not important (along with his or her opinion) and will encourage the child to remain quiet and silent, rarely expressing his/her needs.
Later, I will share what words a parent can use to teach a child to speak up, use his/her voice and still be respectful of others and conscious of the setting.
First, it must be noted that the primary cause of the fear or perceived inability to use one’s voice is the fear of rejection.
The fear of rejection is the fear of social rejection, and social rejection is processed by the brain in the same pathways where physical pain is processed. Accordingly, often experiencing rejection (including perceived rejection) can feel like experiencing physical pain. Thus, it also makes sense why we would avoid the expectation of rejection.
This might be explained by the evolutionary need for belonging, to be part of the tribe, part of the group for survival.
Thus, it is important to understand that rejection is something that challenges everyone. Notice the way that celebrities, famous and other powerful people react to rejection: they delete their social media accounts, they apologize profusely or they attack violently (from a place of insecurity.)
The fear of using one’s voice and speaking up comes from the perceived fear of the consequences:
- Loss of relationship
- Loss of job or loss of position (title or respect)
- Relationship breakup or loss of love or friendship
- Intense emotions or stressful emotions and situations
- Triggering of insecurities (not good enough, not loveable)
Thus, if your parents or even an older, dominant sibling continually dismissed what you had to say, or he/she scolded, punished, mocked, ignored or gave you a stern look of disappointment (perceived as rejection by a child), then you will most likely have challenges using your voice.
If you are a woman, then you already know this:
Women have a greater challenge speaking up than men. This is part nature and part nurture; women have less testosterone than men so they will be generally less assertive and aggressive; women are perceived as being mean, nasty or a ‘bitch’ when using their voice.
Solution: as detailed further below – avoid using emotion – speak in a matter-of-fact voice and flat tone – do not raise your voice or inflect your voice at the end of a sentence.
Becoming oversensitive to the group
Studies also reveal that women are often too sensitive to the group, to what others may be feeling or thinking, a sensitivity that likely has an evolutionary origin, seeking safety, stability and protection by being sensitive to how the group was doing.
Further, in a group setting, if you believe you are not as the rest of the group or think you have nothing to add, you will withhold your voice.
7 Simple Steps to Using Your Voice
1. What do you want to say? Write it down.
2. What is the boundary that has been broken or which needs respecting? Write it down. Make it simple, clear and tangible.
3. What are you afraid will happen if you speak up? What do you fear you will lose? Write it down.
4. What is the result and effect on you right now that you are choosing not to speak up? Write it down.
5. Speak up without apologizing or asking for permission i.e. when ordering something, rather than asking for permission “May I have…?” simply say “I will have or I would like…”
Practice in small areas – at a restaurant – when the food is not suitable – without expressing any emotion – simply say “This food is cold/raw/overcooked/not suitable/not what I expected…” Remember, be firm, state it as a matter of fact, and then, ask for what you want – replace or different order or refund.
6. Beware of being overly apologetic. Do you always apologize – for example when you are trying to get past someone – “Sorry” when you actually meant “Excuse me”?
7. Practice what you will say if it is a significant area or relationship in your life. Write it down; rehearse it aloud. If you still find it challenging to use your voice, send your message via writing. Wait for 24 hours to ensure you say all you want to say and that you do so.
The exception to the rule
If currently there is a critical situation, one that is negatively impacting your health and life because you have not been using your voice, then you might need to intensify emotion such as anger and aggressiveness, so that you can actually use your voice, stand your ground, ask for what you want and reset the boundaries. You are most likely angry at yourself for not having spoken up before and for allowing this person to treat you this way. However, for the future, practice speaking up in the moment!
Key Teaching: We teach others how to treat us!
How to encourage your children to speak up
“I will always welcome and listen to what you have to say even if I don’t agree. Not agreeing with you doesn’t mean I don’t love you nor does it mean I love you any less. Your opinion is important even if we don’t agree. And yes, I will tell you what I think is wrong or unhealthy for you the same way you can tell me what you think is wrong or something you don’t agree with.”
You can add to the conversation below.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.