Voice: 5 Ways People Can Turn Your Volume Down Growing Up

Do you have a weak voice or a strong voice?  Is your voice loud or soft?  Do the people around you encourage your voice or discourage it?  Are you able to recognize when someone tries to turn the volume of your voice down?

Expression is a key component in being human, and in humans voice is a key medium through which expression can occur.  It benefits us to exercise our own voice in a way that aligns with the highest good of all.  It’s also beneficial to encourage others to exercise their voice when it is in alignment with the highest good of all, and to discourage their voice when it’s out of alignment.

Think about how you grew up.  Did the authority figures in your life encourage you to exercise your voice?  Did they create a safe space for you to do so?  If you’re not sure, here’s some ways they might have turned the volume of your voice down.

  1.  Blatantly telling you to “shut up” too many times
    • “hush”, “be quiet”, “shhhh” are forms of this.   There are times where kids don’t need to be talking, but it shouldn’t be all the time.  There can be too much “shut up” by the authorities in your life growing up.
  2. Drowning You Out
    • Too much music being played too often?  The TV being on 24/7?   Maybe it’s even a person who talks non-stop and does very little listening.
  3. Deterioration of conversations
    • If there’s a conversation going along that could actually progress somewhere, there can be a person or people who purposely or inadvertently deteriorate the conversation by spewing nonsense / lies / bullshit.  Instead of actually putting in the effort to seek to understand what’s going on in the conversation and attempting to add value or asking to learn more, or finding another conversation more their speed and style to participate in, they take the easy, lazy and destructive way and come in like a bomb and blow the conversation up and diminish whatever you’re talking about with their bullshit.
  4. Endless arguing and debating
    • Maybe there’s a person in authority who likes to argue for no reason.  They see everything you say as an opportunity to spark up a debate.  After a while, it can become exhausting expressing yourself to this person, especially if you see these debates as pointless and circular.  Nobody changes their behavior or reaches a higher level or awareness or learns anything.  It’s almost as if it’s just wasted time.
  5. Creating or allowing harsh consequences for turning your volume up
    • doing things to oppose #1-4 could result in consequences that you might not want to deal with if you .  Speaking anyway after being told a version of shut up could have consequences.  Trying to talk over the things drowning you out could have consequences.  Creating a boundary between the person who blows up conversations with bullshit could have consequences.  Standing on what you know is right with the debater?  consequences.

I’ve been through all of these growing up.  If I asked why they did these things, they’d probably feel attacked and ultimately respond with some version of “you got off light, you should have been around when we were growing up” – and if they were to say that I’d believe them.  Everyone is doing the best they can at their level of awareness, and I believe the volume of their voices was turned down even more than mine was.  This leads me to ask how far does this go back with my family?  When I traced it back, it felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks when I landed at slavery.  When slaves were brought to America, their whole beings were muted and there were some of the severest consequences for turning the volume of their voice up.

As an adult I can establish much firmer boundaries with people who exhibit these behaviors, but it still makes me think about the kid growing up dealing with this.  I think about those kids who are keeping their volume low right now and how their volume will remain low right into adulthood.  I think about the adults now who grew up having to keep the volume of their voice low, and the consequences of that and how much we’re missing out on their expression.

If someone turned down the volume of your voice as a child, you could easily find your self in a job that reinforces that dynamic when you grow older.  You’ll naturally attract a job that puts you in that same position because it’s comfortable for you.  It feels more natural to you because it’s been repeated over and over.   You might also find yourself in relationships with people who do the 5 things mentioned above.

Of course, you’re free to change this.  You do not have to accept your volume being low and you can connect with people who actively bring out your voice and encourage you to express your authentic self fully.  That’s what the world needs more of.

How can you make your voice stronger?  Where do you feel you should amplify your voice?

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April 1, 2020

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