Tag Archives: building confidence

The Consequences Of Being Seen And Not Heard

The Consequences Of Being Seen And Not Heard

When I was a child there were strict rules around when to speak and when not to speak. Expressing opinion was not encouraged and how I felt was not considered relevant. I remember when company would visit I had no involvement in conversations unless asked to do so.

The intention was to teach discipline and respect which I’m sure at the time seemed liked a good idea but was that all there was to the message? It should be pointed out that this silence was imposed by my mother and she followed the teachings of her father.

I’ve spoken to many women over the years, professionally and personally,  who confess they didn’t have a voice in their own home. I have yet to meet a man who would say the same. Lately this topic surfaced again and that made me think, What are the consequences of such silence?

Whether we see it as a simple proverb,  a gender specific directive, a culturally accepted request or whatever, to be seen and not heard is not healthy.

I wouldn’t doubt that growing up without an appreciation of your voice, opinion or presence is why so many people find it difficult in the workplace to confidently advocated for themselves or verbally contribute in a way that would demonstrate their skills.

Within group settings I have had participants who experienced a visible or invisible reaction to the mere sound of their own voice. Later they shared with me why that it is so difficult to contribute to topics even though they want to  and so many times its attributed to learned silence.

This also doesn’t bode well for intimate relationships. People who have been conditioned to be seen and not heard often can be prey for abusive or highly dominant partners. That lack of voice as a child may create unsafe situations in adulthood.

There is hope and resources.

As a former “to been seen and not heard kid”, I look back on what helped me develop my communication skills and confidence.

  1. Mentors and good friends – people demonstrated to me the value of self-expression and how to develop MY voice.
  2. I reluctantly put myself in situations that had me use my voice and I reaped the benefits of learning.
  3. I forgave my mother for her role in passing along this opinion by recognizing her father and societies imprint was strongly influential.
  4. I protect my voice from those that seem to want to silence or overpower it and encourage others to do the same. You Are To Be Seen AND Heard
  5. I found an outlet for my voice in singing and writing. Creative expression might help you to find your voice.

Resource: Toastmasters Club is an international organization that can be very helpful in building confidence and your voice. Check them out.

I always wanted to be…

If there is one statement I hear a lot from people it is “I always wanted to be a …….” What follows the description is the word “but,” which we all know is the intro to the reasons why they have not pursued their dream job. At some point in our life we have uttered those same words to a friend or partner. We merrily describe what interests us about our dream job or how it would change our life but then what I like to call “unverified reality,”  steps in to burst the bubble.

Unverified reality is when we create this world for others to hear about that supports our position without ever verifying facts. This false reality is designed to mask fears, lack of research and unwillingness to act. I’m not sure that we are fooling anyone because there are plenty of examples of people beating the odds to reach their goals.The truth is if we really wanted to be something, we could. If only we had spent less time talking about it and more time pursuing it.

Everything that needs to be done to become who you wish to be must be self-generated. Stop being your own worst enemy. That sounds harsh, doesn’t it? However, that is where all of us have stood, in the way of ourselves. Self esteem plays a huge role in all of this and therefore it is important to get support. There is no magical pill or expert opinion that can fast track your career. If you are expecting an easy way to your dream job, think again. This ain’t Hollywood’s version of what it takes to rise to the top.

Sometimes our dream job isn’t even possible. I may think that I will be the next winner of The Voice which will then parlay into a multimillion dollar music career but maybe my best is not good enough.  I might have been on the way to becoming an NHL star but an injury occurred and now I’m unable to reach that goal. What I want to be and what I can be may be very different. Barriers exist, one dream ends and an alternative begins. I would have to assess if or how I can work in that industry and be around the sights, sounds and smells I love but in a different way.

If you always wanted to be a…..,then here are some firm sounding tips:

* Do your research. Find out if it is possible to get employment in that field.

* If the research pans out and you need to go back to school then find a way. Stop talking and start educating yourself. Sure, it may take a while but in the end you are doing what you love.

* Stop caring about what others think. If they can’t support you then find a true friend that will or business mentor.

* Get help for the emotional baggage that keeps good people like yourself in a perpetual state of giving up before you really begin. If you want to spend more time rehashing your experiences as a student in high school, self identify with labels for why you are the way you are or stay on the loop of childhood, marriage or employment failures it is going to be a long haul. You are worth more than that so when you are ready we will welcome you to the now!

* Know that success is created one logical step at a time so stop trying to take giant leaps or skirt under the fence.

* You have likely over 80 years to grow as a person, learn from the best and embrace your talents so please stop saying you don’t have time.

By the way, I give myself this same advice all the time.



Self Esteem for Girls

I received an email from an organization that I volunteer for and what I saw was not just words on a page but instead the greatest gift I could have received all year. The program coordinator shared with me a portion of a beautifully personal speech that had been made to students by a young woman in her twenties that I had been assisting. I will not reprint the email but this brave woman talked about what she had learned and how she could finally see her skills. Our work together (along with all her supports) changed her way of looking at what was possible for her life. She is safe, in school and setting goals but what is most rewarding is that she maintained her hope, pushed forward and knows she has a lot to offer this world.

I tell you this because this is what building self esteem can do. It can move layers of negative talk, it can free us to explore and open up doors that were previously thought to be impossible to walk through. How we see ourselves and our world is directly related to self esteem.

Girls get bombarded by outside messaging. From the minute we are born it seems people are telling us how to act, dress and speak. The media has done their part to reinforce all of this by celebrating false beauty and providing unrealistic chatter about what is good and bad for women and girls. 

Parents also have a huge influence on what we see in ourselves. Hopefully we have caring parents to help build our confidence but if not, role models come in all forms. It is good to find a supportive person to help you develop a healthy outlook on self and life.

Then there is the issue of bullying. There are hurt people, hurting people and if you are a girl struggling to cope with your own self confidence and you are being bullied it can be a hundred times more difficult. As a girl who was bullied I can honesty say that things get better. I learned that it had nothing to do with me and that life has a way of distancing us from that past. No matter what was said or done by you or anyone else, we all have the ability to rise above. Get help and don’t let anyone define you.

I want to close out this Christmas season blog with a plea to girls and women everywhere:

Make an effort to not buy into anyone’s idea of who you should be. If you don’t know who you are, be open to finding the answer. Find that answer through quiet moments with self, journaling, read books about inspiring women, seek counsel and above all never give up. Don’t self sabotage. Don’t look for reasons to hurt yourself; you are worth more than that. Do what you love. Pay attention to what you are naturally good at. Stay away from anyone or anything that puts you in the path of negativity. Building block by block your self esteem is the greatest foundation for a successful, healthy and happy life!

What do you Value?

What are the guiding principals of your life?

Values can be described as the beliefs, attitudes and philosophies which you consider important. They don’t change from personal life to work, they are not situational. You don’t just walk out the door and change your values. The decisions you make in life and the actions associated with those decisions are influenced by your values alone.

We have certain things in life we value more than others. Over the course of our lifetime they remain firmly intact, but some may differ in terms of priority. For instance: there are certain things you may have valued more as a youth than in your adult life. They are still there, just possibly a bit farther down the list.

What we value shows up in how we shop, when we vote, in our friendships, work and play. Some values may be protected and defended more than others, compromise may not be an option. When asked to compromise values you are placed in a bad position, one that can affect you personally, emotionally, spiritually and professionally.

Being clear about what you value can help in your career and your relationships. If you value Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty and Self Respect you will try to live accordingly and seek out others of like mind. You will not be inclined to work for a company that is dishonest or makes you feel uncomfortable because what you value, clashes with their organization. If you value, Action, Adventure, Excitement you may seek this out personally and/or professionally through activities and people.

It was Roy Disney who was quoted as saying “When your values are clear to you, making decisions become easier.” This is true. So, I encourage you to take some time for yourself and clarify “What do I value in my life?” List out what is important to you in order of priority. That will help you build the confidence necessary to make the right decisions in life and work.

Here is a small list of values to get you started:

affection, emotion, love, athletics, health, beauty, nature, peace, challenge, change, curiosity, travel, wealth, enjoyment, fun, humour, family, marriage, parenthood, friendship, ideas, intelligence, logic, wisdom, inner harmony, social welfare, spiritual life, power, prestige, recognition, financial security, pleasure, sensuality and play.

Essential SSL