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Developing Your Authentic Voice Or My Famous Bread Story

DEVELOPING YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE OR MY FAMOUS BREAD STORY

“What kind of bread do you like?”

I was at the grocery store with friends. We were vacationing together in Hawaii. And when I was asked, “What kind of bread do you like,” I replied as I normally did at that time in my life.

“I don’t know. What do you like?”

Now, of course I knew what kind of bread I liked; I like brown bread with as many nuts an seeds as possible. So why didn’t I say that? I was in graduate school at the time and was certainly old enough to speak up for myself and state my preferences.

But I didn’t.

And it took several years of psychological work before I uncovered and expressed my preferences, truth, opinions and authentic voice. About bread and a lot more.

Why Don’t We Speak up for Ourselves?

Most of us came from families where we weren’t encouraged to speak honestly and genuinely about our feelings, needs or wants. In fact when we did, love was withdrawn (we were abandoned) and we were shamed, abused or punished. We were met with responses like:

“Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about!” “Boys don’t cry.” “Keep your voice down!” “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” “You don’t feel angry you’re just tired.”

I remember one afternoon when I finally got up the courage to tell my mother the truth about something I’d been withholding, the not telling of which was really bothering me. After I told her, she refused to talk to me for four days (a difficult situation in a family of six). Even though by that time I’d learned that hiding my truth and going underground was the way to survive, I’d still made this last attempt. And her response influenced me for a very long time.

How to Reclaim Your Authentic Voice

First of all, as with most things, you have to become aware that you’re not speaking with your authentic voice. This is essential.

Then, you have to determine what IS true for you.

I remember a woman who once told me she didn’t even know what color she liked. She’d been such a people pleaser all her life that it terrified her to have an opinion even one as innocuous as the color she preferred. But she took on the challenging task of discovering who she was at her core, reclaiming her feelings, needs, wants, desires and dreams, and developing a strong authentic voice.

To determine what’s true for you, you have to be honest with yourself and confront truths that may not be particularly pleasant – your shadow side. This includes being responsible for your behavior and not blaming others for your own actions. Although challenging, this level of honesty and responsibility can be extremely liberating.

You also need friends, a relationship, a therapist or some other people with whom you can speak honestly and openly without being treated as you were in your family. People you trust to support you, no matter what.

A colleague of mine, Kip Flock, taught me a technique called, Share, Check, Share. When you’re not sure whether a person you know is a safe person with whom to share personal information, first share a small piece of personal information with them. Then, check to see how they respond. If he or she is supportive and says things like, “Oh, tell me more,” or “I’m sorry about that,” it’s generally safe to share more.

However, if this person shames you, changes the subject or starts talking about himself or herself, this an indication this is not a safe person.

While the task of reclaiming your authentic voice can feel daunting, especially if you’ve suppressed yourself for a long time, the benefits are second to none. You’ll experience a level of self-acceptance, inner peace and personal freedom you’ve never known before.

So, tell me, what kind of bread do you like? Let’s start there. Leave your answer in the comments below.

3 comments to Developing Your Authentic Voice Or My Famous Bread Story

  • Wendy Allenet-Simspon

    Pam

    This is wonderful and lovely to be reminded of Kip’s “Share/Check/Share” which is something I am currently doing and will tell you more about tomorrow.

    Not sure if this post is to all your bloggers or just you and will check this with you too. x

  • Congratulations on creating a blog. I couldn’t think of anyone better equipped to do this! I’ll look forward to reading your postings. By the way – I love bread that has a super crunchy crust. Also extra dense and chewy bread as well!

  • Dr. Pam Fan

    Yaayyy, Dr. Pam!
    So glad yer bloggin’

    I love the “brown” whole grain breads with as many nuts as possible, too!

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