When Silence Is Not Golden
“Speak up for yourself; Because if you don’t, no one would.”
Growing up, have you ever wonder why we need to adhere the social standards to be a “good girl” or “good boy”?
For kids, “being good” usually means being obedient to authorities, peace-loving, nice and friendly to others, polite, attentive, having good manners etc.
I recalled vividly a day in school when I was 14; It was the last week of the semester, and I just got my report card. There’s a column written by my form teacher and she described me as, “Industrious, obedient, and helpful to others.”
As a teenager who was still searching for her identity, I was so shocked and disappointed with the word “obedient”; Obedient to WHOM and WHAT?? I found that quite humiliating.
Only after that incident, I start to realise how much I have been compromising myself to other’s demands and expectations, even when I don’t feel like it. I was too timid to speak up for myself because I thought I might either get into trouble (if I express opposing ideas to teachers & parents), or get into quarrels in relationships ( If I say NO to friends).
Can you relate?
When “Good Girls” Enter The Workplace
This struggle of asserting myself in public continues to affect me when I entered the workplace, because, speaking up is simply unfamiliar.
There were countless times when I could voice out my opinions but I chose not to, because the atmosphere didn’t feel right, or that I worried if my suggestions were not valuable, or I simply took too long to contemplate the ideas in my head before the meeting ended.
And there were also several occasions where I spoke up for myself in the WRONG context, expressed my message in an inappropriate way which brought disastrous results. Sometimes, here’s just a fine line between speaking up for yourself and being a nasty bitch.
How I Rediscover The Power of My Voice
Public speaking is always scary, but that was part of my core job duties when I was working as a Career Advisor at a local university.
One day, by chance, I experienced a standing ovation when I was delivering a confidence training to 100+ students to help them overcome their nerves for job interviews.
Honestly, I didn’t know what happened; because usually, my nerves would come up that I won’t even be able to eat before I step onto the stage. But on that day, not only I have peace before the training, I felt the strong urge to share personal stories of how I overcome my challenges, and the audience resonated. And when I showed them some postures and body movements, I encouraged them to stand up and practice with me! Picture a room of 100+ young, energetic people putting their hands up and shout “Yes!” together — the energy in that room was simply immersive and contagious!
That moment anchors a new belief in me, that my voice indeed has its power. But it is only when I’m willing to own my voice, I can amplify the message within me and express my truth. There are so many people out there who could benefit from what I have to share!
From then onward, I ‘ve decided that my Life’s Work is to reconnect with my genuine essence, so that I can own and express my truth, and help others do the same.
The Quest For Life Purpose
Talking about Life’ Work, a lot of people have struggled in finding their life purposes.
I was one of them. I went through a lot of career experiments and detours, trying to unwrap the answers to the biggest life questions of “Who am I?” and “What should I do with my life?”.
For me, I always know that what I’m meant to do on this earth is to make myself useful to others. But how? That what I kept asking in my 20s.
Now, as I grow and evolve, I understand that my definition of that purpose idea could change along with my spiritual path.
Afterall, one’s life purpose is not a job title. We have the creative freedom of using whatever channels and tools to express our life’s work so we can bring values to others, and the possibilities are countless!
One of the surefire ways to find your life purpose is to follow the breadcrumbs of your life’s struggles. When transformation happens to you, you’ve learnt a life lesson and it becomes your duty to share it and enlighten others.
Stop hiding your light! Because when you shine, you make space for others to do the same!