“Speech is powerful. Speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Think back to a time where you didn’t speak up. wether it be speaking up for someone else, yourself, what you believe in or during a musical. why didn’t you speak up? take a stand, voice your thoughts. We often think of these instances as missed opportunities but in actual fact, they are much more. Your voice could of saved someone’s life, could of opened up a window of opportunities for yourself, bought someone justice and in turn, empowered others. We need to empower ourselves to be confident and raise our voices as loud as we can!
I remember the first time I found myself in front of a large crowd, waiting to sing my heart out. The thought of addressing the many people that filled the hall made my stomach twist and turn a thousand times. I felt sick, I was sweating, shaking. I could feel my heart pounding. I re-enacted every worst case scenario in my head just so I could prepare myself for the worst. As I stood in front of the crowd I felt my face turn red and my thoughts begin to scramble. I imagined forgetting the words or people booing me. I started singing but the music cut off. I stood in silence, people staring at me for a good 30 seconds until a voice in my earpiece said “Sing Sophie sing!”. It wasn’t until that moment that I realised two things that would empower me to speak up for the remainder of my life.
1. It is okay to be afraid. Acknowledge, embrace and normalise it
How many people have been kept from succeeding because of the fear of failure? society is so judgmental that our fear of speaking up is deeply related to the worry we have of what people think. We focus so much on what people think of us, that we fail to realise that our last words matter, they impact, inspire, encourage and save others.
“The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.” This is one of my all time favourite quotes. I truely believe in the message being told. I believe that instead of letting our fears define us, control us and hold us back, that we should acknowledge, embrace and normalise them. All it takes is a mental shift; positive self talk! turn the negative into a positive and hold on to the fact that your voice can have an impact on the world.
2. Self belief is key
Believing in yourself is the only way you are going to be empowered to speak up. If you do not believe that you can make a difference, that your words mean something then you won’t speak up. You will remain silent. I am a true believer of “you can do anything you put your mind to” it is important that we all believe this is true. Speech is a very powerful thing, it has the ability to change the world. We ourselves are powerful and have the ability to do great things. Being confident in ourselves and understanding that we have a responsibility to have the courage and determination to raise our voices, will allow us to speak up for ourselves, others and make a difference. Believe that you are capable. You are enough and you can make a difference in the world.
.Image from Google Arts & Culture.