Growing up, many of us received the unspoken message that you mustn’t hurt anyone’s feelings and at all costs. If your childhood was anything like mine, you learned that caring for others was an important thing, however, often this comes at the expense of proper self care and preservation. In the last few weeks I have had the fortune of being exposed to some wonderful situations where I could share what I have learned about finding your voice, setting healthy boundaries, and how this kind of communication with ourselves and others is paramount to living a healthy, happy life. The Yoga Teacher Training students at Liberty Yoga were such wonderful hosts as I shared with them some ways to speak up and let the best version of themselves shine through in their teachings. We explored some practical ways to approach their sense of limitation, and most of all had some fun getting out of our comfort zones and letting the inner teacher rise to the surface. Some of these situations have been tense ones, (please if you ever sense someone is in an unsafe situation make sure they have professional support from a therapist or counselor) but I was able to support someone in learning that saying no is not the same as showing a lack of regard. In fact, saying no is one of the most powerful ways we can show we value and respect ourselves and in turn one another.
A few ways to find your own unique voice.
–Focus on failure. Sounds crazy, right? Lose your fear of failure by diving into it. Ask yourself what your worst fear would be in speaking up, or doing something differently than you think you must, have been taught, or know how to. Really dive in and think about all the ways the sky could fall down on you. And when you can actually put words to it you’ll see its more your imagination playing tricks with you, or at the very least you’ll be more equipped to deal with whatever the outcome because you have already taken the venom and power out of it.
-Seek out rejection. Again, what the heck is this woman talking about? Hear me out. rejection sucks. It feels like you are unworthy and unwanted. But the key to happiness, some would say based on very recent findings is resiliency. It helps us define and refine our best selves, and helps us find the right path for us. Check out an awesome TED talk I was exposed to last week that not only illustrates this point, but rally made me chuckle! I have to say, not being an out of the gate success in life will keep you working on your skills an finding your unique gifts more every day. https://www.ted.com/talks/jia_jiang_what_i_learned_from_100_days_of_rejection
Play with improvisational movement. Physical movement is how we first learn about who we are and what makes us feel good. As an infant, bringing your foot all the way into your mouth was likely one of the first ways you discovered how amazing your body was, and set the stage for a whole host of exploratory movement in the body to figure out what the world is all about and how you fit into it. Spend some time just moving, not in a yoga class, not playing sports, not with any instruction or agenda. Play music if you like, but find your own unique groove and see what you find. Moving your body in a free form way helps you to connect to who we have always been without labels or roles.
Practice using the power of a high quality “NO”. Are you always saying yes to everyone? Do you often avoid speaking up when you disagree? What would setting a boundary and sticking to it do for you? Do you avoid confrontation? Often we think everything is all or nothing. If we say no, we will be seen as uncaring and selfish. If we say yes we are kind and generous. What if saying no was the most generous thing of all? Let your voice be heard, even just by saying no. And then when you say yes, imagine how much more powerful your affirmation will be?
How do you allow your own unique voice to be heard? please leave a comment!