As someone who is just naturally a shy, soft-spoken or quiet person, I find myself having to repeat what I say very often. Many times, I’ll say something and it’ll go unheard. I tend to let it slide if it’s an unimportant point. Pretend it never happened. I’ve done it so many times, it’s become so easy to do. Some times, the person actually wants to hear what I tried to say and we go through this:
“Sorry, what did you say?”
“I didn’t catch it, you were saying?”
But more often than not, I find myself saying this: “Nothing, never-mind, it’s not important.” I’ve done this so many times. Today, it occurred to me that this might not be a very healthy habit to keep as a growing young adult.
To give some context on when I’m asked to repeat myself; it’s usually when I’m asked to express an opinion or when I have an idea that I want to share. It’s so peculiar how whenever I want to say something, there’s sometimes someone else who speaks at the same time but at a louder volume and with a more assertive tone. You’re going to like – duh – of course, if you want to be heard, then you should make yourself heard. You’re right, but the truth is that I’ve learnt to give up. I’ve convinced myself that it’s not worth the pain and effort of trying to make myself heard. I’ve convinced myself that my voice doesn’t matter. I’ve persuaded myself that one less voice will make little difference.
I was reflecting about this today and I feel that I am wrong on two accounts.
#1. My voice does matter.
Everybody in this planet wants their voice to be heard by someone. Why? Because when someone hears your voice, it is an acknowledgement of your existence in this world. So when I deny my own voice and I say that my opinions are “not important”…it does something to my own self-esteem and my own perception of myself.
#2. One less voice will make a difference.
I know this. Whenever I have to lead discussions or projects, I am the kind of leader or sub-leader or even a simple member who will insist on hearing the thoughts of everyone on the team. I know that we all have different thoughts. Interesting ideas are missed when someone chooses not to share. I like listening to people. I know that everyone wants someone to listen to them and very often I am that someone. (Funny how these same people never listen to me when I speak.)
The problem goes back to #1. I don’t think that my voice will make a difference.
Well, will this change? I don’t know but I just felt like blogging about it. In a way, through blogs, forums and other anonymous online platforms, I make myself heard. I write and speak into the vacuum that is the internet. Sometimes, I’m heard and most of the times I am ignored. But that’s okay, because I am still projecting my voice and thoughts somewhere…and that is better than nothing, I think.