The truth can never be wrong — even if no one hears it.
— Mahatma Ghandi
One of the reasons we often don't speak out is that we feel hopeless about being heard. It's probably true that you haven't been heard in the past — by your parents, siblings, spouses, or friends — and so, in a sense, you have every reason to give up.
There's a little crumpled-up part of you somewhere down inside that says, "Why bother? They never listened before, why would they listen now?" However, it's this very sense of defeat, this hopelessness, that created the feelings of unworthiness at the core of your inability to love yourself.
Even though you weren't heard before, that's no reason not to express yourself now. Just because there's a chance — and in many cases a good chance — that you won't be heard yet again, don't give up before you begin.
If You Speak and No One Listens To You...
We're so concerned about being heard because down in our silenced little psyches we believe that speaking up and getting heard are a pair of bookends, the alpha and the omega. We believe that it will only be worth all the anguish of speaking out if — and only if — we are heard. Even more specifically, we believe that we must be guaranteed the response we desire in order to risk speaking out.
This is the very assumption that caused you to keep your mouth shut all this time — guaranteeing that you didn't get any results, that you didn't feel any better about yourself. The truth is that it's worth it whenever you speak out on your own behalf, whether or not anyone hears or responds — because you change your perception of yourself.
Expressing Yourself Increases Your Sense of Self-Worth
Language creates reality. And when you speak out all the little pathways in your brain which, in the past, have been coursing with rivulets of self-criticism won't have such a big run-off of self-loathing running down them any longer.
Whole new pathways will form in your brain, pathways where rivers of self-acceptance, cherishing, and understanding flow. Instead of dismissing your concerns as unimportant, you'll get a sense of your own value — simply because you've expressed it. Even if nobody else is listening, you will hear it, the cosmos will hear it, and your battered psyche will hear it.
Speaking Out: Changing the Voices in Your Head
When, as a child, you are subjected to repeated experiences of not having your needs met, it's almost as if there's a little voice inside that says, "Maybe I don't deserve to be cared for." Although you may not pay much attention to the little voice the first time you hear it, each time you are neglected, disappointed, or abused the little voice will keep repeating its message — until you finally believe that you really aren't deserving of love.
Instead of being able to speak out on your behalf, and say, "Things aren't right here, somebody should be taking better care of me," the little voice starts picking on you, saying you don't deserve the things you want and need. Instead of finding strength to speak out on your behalf, it, in effect, turns on you and says the reason you're not getting what you need is that you don't deserve it. Instead of defending you, or objectively observing the situation — your parents are too tired, too overworked, or too unconscious to give you what you need — the voice starts attacking you. It blames you for lacking what you need.
The Attack Voice Inside Your Head Is Not Your Real Voice
This attack voice is the voice of you not loving yourself. It is all the critical words, judgments, dismissals, and put-downs you've ever heard, taken inside, and then spoken back to you, by yourself. It's you, ganging up on yourself.
The attack voice is learned. It can be unlearned. The fact that at times it can get so loud that it seems like the only voice you can hear is all the more the reason you need so badly to find another voice, your real voice, the voice that will honor you. There are three kinds of speaking out that you'll need to learn in order to take this step on your path to self-compassion. They are: Telling, Asking, and Expressing Anger.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
©2004, 2012 by Daphne Rose Kingma. All rights reserved.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
When You Think You're Not Enough: The Four Life-Changing Steps to Loving Yourself
by Daphne Rose Kingma.
Through stories and examples, Daphne Rose Kingma offers a profound, yet simple process for practicing how to feel good enough, smart enough, and deserving of happiness. When You Think You're Not Enough is a positive guide to a fuller, happier life; one filled with compassion for yourself and others.
About the Author
Daphne Rose Kingma is a psychotherapist, lecturer, and workshop leader. She is an author, speaker, teacher and healer of the human heart. The bestselling author of Coming Apart and many other books on love and relationships, Daphne has been a frequent guest on Oprah. Dubbed "The Love Doctor” by the San Francisco Chronicle, her extraordinary gift for sifting out the core emotional issues in any life situation has also earned her the affectionate title “The Einstein of Emotions.” Her books have sold more than a million copies and been translated into 15 languages. Visit her website at www.daphnekingma.com