Our voice in an incredibly powerful thing! Our voice provides a way to share who we are and how we see the world. It is valuable because with it, we share our ideas, our passions, our convictions and hopefully, our feelings. I want to be clear about something though… our voice is not merely about making sound!
The power of our voice expressed through how we share our thoughts is an awesome thing. I don’t mean awesome in the sense of “hey… wow… that’s really great!” I mean it in terms of being influential and impacting. When we share our thoughts, whether they be written or spoken, they will have impact! How the recipient receives what you share through the expression of your voice will depend on many things. How you choose to make your expressions, your tone of voice, the disposition of the recipient… and the list goes on.
Once we’ve used our voice to share our thought(s), we have no further control. In fact, even while we conceive our thoughts, no matter how deliberate we are, we have no control over how they will be received. That said, it is incredibly important to consider carefully what we share. It is equally important to listen to what others share with us. This can help to shape our voice in a healthy way.
We can tie ourselves in knots trying to come up with the “politically correct” statement, the aim of which is to be non-injurious to the vast majority. In many cases, in the interest of political correctness, the message gets watered down and the fundamental truth in the thought is lost. Unfortunately, that may leave us guessing at what a politically correct statement is actually trying to communicate. It may leave us searching through carefully crafted rhetoric and ambiguity for what the intended message is, instead of actually receiving the intended thought and potentially learning something (whether we agree with it or not)! I could go on and on about this, but political correctness is not the point I want to make today. Sharing our voice should be about an expression of truth and should also seek to cause provoked consideration and maybe even self-examination. It should not lead to situations which cause the recipient to feel pain (unless the pain suffered is the result of a realization of truth which hopefully causes a new healthy self-awareness and growth).
I’m talking about using our voice when saying things like “she looks like a whale”, “he’s a wimp”, or “what an idiot”. Opinion is important of course, but how you choose to share that opinion is a part of your voice. Just because an opinion varies from yours doesn’t give you the right to demean or attempt to silence someone. Even more, it absolutely doesn’t give you the right to viciously malign anyone.
There have been quite a few things I’ve noticed this last week which have both challenged and saddened me. I’ve seen a significant number of people make expressions steeped in ignorance because they are unaware of a situation or topic and are only expressing their opinion based on their finite understanding of that given situation. An example of this might be like saying “Ford sucks”, just because you’ve only known GM! I’ve seen people get angry and venomous because someone was using their voice to try to inspire thought and discussion. Yet, because of pre-disposition, the need for political correctness and to maintain the status quo, that voice was all but silenced and an important societal foundation was muted!
Many of us throw our opinions around like they are law! Well…. Here’s a newsflash, they aren’t, but your voice will still have an impact! Consider your words carefully because they can hurt or in an instant, change dramatically how someone perceives you. I have to remember and apply this in my life because I’m highly opinionated and outspoken. I think a great deal and like to share my thoughts, but not only because I feel I’ve something to say. I share what I think because I am interested in perspective…. the perspective of others on what my thoughts provoke in them. In part, it’s how I process information and learn. Voicing my opinion and discussing my thoughts causes me to really consider what I think for two reasons. What YOU think when you hear me share what is in my mind and also, hearing myself voice the thoughts in my head and the way in which I choose to share them.
When you must resort to demeaning someone when sharing your voice, I think you need to ask yourself why. What about what you’re trying to say causes you to need to demean or manipulate someone with harsh or condemning words? Are you fully informed on the subject you’re feeling challenged by or have you always driven a GM? If a dissenting opinion shared by someone else frustrates you… have you asked yourself why you’re frustrated by what you’ve heard? Do you understand what frustration is? Frustration is the inability to control a situation to an outcome that YOU would have! Sounds pretty self-serving doesn’t it… well, that’s because it is. Sometimes though, frustration can be a good thing… especially when it causes you to rail against tyranny or oppression.
We also have to guard against feeling injured by someone’s voice because of our own insecurities. Sometimes, no matter how politely someone shares a thought, it will not be taken as intended. And sometimes… it’s not about us at all! People don’t think about us nearly as much as we think they do and so, we might mistake a thought as being directed toward us specifically when it wasn’t about us at all.
The internet has changed our society and sadly, I think in a societal context, it’s been changed for the worse. We can easily hide anonymously behind a keyboard and monitor if we choose, and spew some of the most horrible thoughts and language without any idea of the impact that our voice causes. More and more, I see this stemming into daily life. What’s wrong with us? It’s not ok to be rude just because you don’t agree with something or like something. I also believe things have gotten to a point where I think it’s causing many people to feel afraid to take a stand on anything for the sake of political correctness (I’m going to limit this to much of western culture). We need to get back to some core values and be unafraid to live them, but we also must learn to voice those ideas with consideration and respect. We can learn from fear and ignorance but we must speak and act with wisdom and truth.
I guess it all boils down to… if you can’t say something kindly and respectfully… keep it to yourself!
Have a great day folks….