Have you noticed how words spoken in different ways can create multiple meanings depending on the feelings, the intentions swirling around those words? Words spoken with jealousy, bitterness, pain, fear, and fury land very differently than those spoken with passion, commitment, courage, love, kindness, resilience, and tenderness. This energy of emotion is what Maya Angelou is talking about when she says, “People will remember how you made them feel.”
There are times words become weapons like sticks and stones when spoken with roaring fury from deep wells of fear from another person or many people. Have you ever felt attacked by the fear, the fury interwoven with cruel words? If you’ve been bullied, you know exactly what this experience feels like. If you were a sensitive child, listening attentively, the fury probably whooshed right up inside of you, swirled around, and eventually became the core of your Inner Critic. If no one taught you how to safely purge these fury words from your being without hurting anyone else, you probably use them to beat yourself up or scorch others with them without thinking, sometimes unintentionally, other times with malice and full intent.
On the other hand, words swaddled in genuine love, compassion, and kindness can also land softly on your being and seep into the cells of your soul. These words can become what some call that Still Small Voice inside that can grow into your Still Strong Voice of who you really are. Have you noticed that genuinely kind words feel a great deal better than the cruel ones? Have you noticed that when you soften into the tenderness of loving words from the Still Small Voice you make better choices?
You may have trained yourself to only listen to the fear and the fury of the Inner Critic and only occasionally hear the Still Strong Voice. You may have placed barriers around your heart to kind words, deflecting them as soon as they are uttered by another or by many. To whom have you trained yourself to listen?
It takes great courage to remove the protective shield you’ve placed around your heart, to speak your truth from a place of wisdom, life lived. No one else really knows what you’ve lived and experienced until you tell them. Can you speak your truth from the Still Small Voice with compassion for your inner critic? You could have a conversation that’s looks like, “Hello, Inner Critic, I know you experienced pain, hurt, betrayal, heartache, terror, but you are not me.” I am Love, Light, Kindness, Courage, Resilience, and Strength. I, your Still Strong Voice, has always been here waiting for you to hear me, to feel me.”
What I’ve learned from my Still now Strong Voice is that she’s hilarious, ridiculous, smart, discerning, optimistic, passionate, inspired, kind to her core, and always with me no matter where I go. She’s willing to bravely share her deepest truths or be silent for others. She often listens for kernels of truth from the Inner Critic and acts from deeper commitments and an abiding faith in the Still Strong Voices of Love inside of others.
Where is the Still Strong Voice inside of you? Can you get silent enough to actually hear those words, that guidance, that deep love? Can you discern the many words and the energy attached to those words? Can you listen and speak from this place?