Why Is Sharing Our Voice So Scary?
Many people feel intense anxiety and fear when asked to speak or sing in front of others. Why is this? The voice is an intimate expression of who we are, and many of us have been silenced or made to feel shut down in our lives. Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect, wrote about the development and loss of voice, saying that many individuals, progressively as they get older, lose touch with their vocal freedom. Campbell wrote, "We learn to be unsure and afraid of our natural powers." Read on...
Making our own sounds reveals a deep and true place of emotion within. When we have not been heard in our life, we hide our voice away and judge it as inadequate. Being heard can be vulnerable and scary, but ultimately incredibly healing. I worked with a young woman who initially had a very small and tentative voice. She was shy and her voice seemed hidden and muffled, with a suppressed quality to it. It appeared that it took a lot of energy for her to even speak. Throughout our work together things slowly began to change. I noticed it was in the singing of joyful songs that seemed to bring her out of her shell. In one lesson, I asked her to open up her chest and leap forward physically as she sang. I wanted to create a sense of urgency and movement within her body, so as to propel parts of her hidden voice (self) out. Suddenly in leaping forward I heard a completely different voice come out of her! It was like being in the room with a totally different person. I think she heard it too, because her eyes grew wide and filled up with tears. Her own perspective of herself had for such a long time been small, that to really let out a big sound shook her to her foundation. There was a sense of reclaiming that took place. This was essential for her in deepening her perspective of herself and feeling the confidence to expand not only through her voice, but in her life. Later she told me that she had never been given permission to yell for joy in her life before that moment.
It is an experience like this one and many others that I have witnessed that reveal how powerful finding one’s voice can be to every facet of a life. People come to me to find their voice, but what they perhaps are not prepared for is that finding one’s voice is all or nothing. It is the full spectrum of color in the rainbow. The voice says so much about our emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental state. In opening that door, if one is willing and ready, a remarkable thing happens: one discovers a deeper connection to everything. It seems that in acknowledging our own unique vibration we suddenly become aware that we are a crucial note on the staff of this miraculous song of life.
Campbell, D. (1997). The Mozart effect: Tapping the power of music to heal the body, strengthen the mind, and unlock the creative spirit. New York, NY: HarperCollins.