All About Finding Our Own Authentic Voice…..By Dr. Linda Berman.

27634069540_90a35c77da_oKen Flewellyn – Express Yourself [2015]Gandalf’s Gallery Flickr.

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

Neil Gaiman

  • The Meaning Of Finding Our Own Voice.

6800385067_2354a3df76_oAmel Djenidi – Soi [2009]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Finding one’s own voice means standing out from the crowd and saying what is true to one’s heart. It is having the courage and resilience to be authentic, even if this goes against the opinion of others.

In order to find our own voice, we need to risk speaking out, to go outside our comfort zone, perhaps breaking some of our habitual ways of being.

It is not always easy.

“If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.”

Seamus Heaney

  • Having a voice to speak up for others.

22052030090_f46a29571f_oMarwa Najjar – Sliver Sky [2014]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“May we raise children

who love the unloved

things – the dandelion, the

worms & spiderlings.

Children who sense

the rose needs the thorn

& run into rainswept days

the same way they

turn towards sun…

And when they’re grown &

someone has to speak for those

who have no voice

may they draw upon that

wilder bond, those days of

tending tender things

and be the ones.

Nicolette Sowder(

Speaking out for others who might be too afraid to do so themselves, perhaps because of some injustice like trauma or persecution, is crucial.

If we have the strength ourselves, then we need to help others to be heard, and act for them.

Of course, speaking out for others can be risky; it requires courage to stand up and speak out. Sometimes, this is a lonely place to be.

“A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet “for sale,” who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence—briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing—cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society.”

Erich Fromm

If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.


Such support involves never being a bystander to suffering, when there could be ways in which this suffering might be prevented or stopped.

23485140486_efeb1beca9_oIan Francis – The Hand [2012]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

Malala Yousafzai

The poem below was written during the Holocaust, by Pastor Niemoller, a prisoner in Dachau concentration camp:

First They Came
Pastor Martin Niemoller

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

23282543341_c0aaafa71c_oJacob Dhein – Theresa [2014]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“I have a voice, and I’m trying to use it to be the voice for all the innocent people who don’t have one.”

Enes Kanter

  • Healing Previously Unheard  Voices.

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.”

Margaret Atwood

Racism, ageism, and sexism, torture and persecution, homophobia and transphobia, sexual, physical and mental abuse, are all amongst the many ways of rejecting and marginalising others.

Such horrors continue to thrive when those who experience them are unsupported, disbelieved, or ignored.

imageVan Gogh. Sorrowing Old Man. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

They have resulted in voices being unheard, heartfelt stories of pain denied, muted, or drowned out in a cacophony of hatred and prejudice. 

Abuse may continue unabated when its victims are terrified into silence, often under threats of violence or death.

6915097593_9666e7935d_oTina Spratt – Reflection. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“When we share those stories we’ve been scared to share, voicelessness loses its wicked grasp.”

Jo Ann Fore

Therapy, in a group or individually, can help those who have, understandably, been rendered voiceless by such terrors.

“When we share those stories we’ve been scared to share, voicelessness loses its wicked grasp.”

Jo Ann Fore

However, speaking out after trauma can be very difficult, and those who do achieve this need the care, understanding and the help of those who are trauma-informed.

Otherwise, the many ways of managing and coping with such deep physical and psychological pain can be misinterpreted, resulting in retraumatisation.

“When marginalized people gain voice and center their own experiences, things begin changing. And we see this in all kinds of grassroots movements.”

Janet Mock

“Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

41548989380_e65161de0f_cJanne Kearney – Me Too [2017] Oil on Linen. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”

Audre Lorde

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou

  • Finding Our Voice Through Self- Knowledge.

49202859411_15012dc9f6_oKelly Birkenruth – Looking Within [2019]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“I learned patience, perseverance, and dedication. Now I really know myself, and I know my voice. It’s a voice of pain and victory.”

Anthony Hamilton

Many times, we might need to look within ourselves to find our true selves, our real voice.

So many of us wear masks, and not only the ones we wear to protect ourselves and others from Coronavirus.

These other masks that we wear are an invisible protection against the fear of exposing our true voice, our real thoughts and feelings,  thus revealing who we really are, with all our faults, foibles, pain and neediness.

Often, we have been putting on such masks from childhood. Maybe we had to pretend to be other than we really were as children. Possibly all of us did this to a greater or lesser extent.

The unfortunate old saying  ‘Children should be seen and not heard,’ is one that has silenced children’s real voices in a way that denies their individuality and personhood.

This attitude will result in an embargo on real feelings, and a silencing of a child’s developing selfhood.

It will likely produce a tendency to fit in with others, to adapt to their ways, to deny true beliefs, thoughts and feelings. 

Such behaviour patterns are hard to rid ourselves of. Therapy may be needed to help with this, so that we might uncover the real person we are beneath the layers of pleasing others.

“There is nothing more meaningful than being true to yourself and finding your own voice. Follow your heart and don’t let anyone discourage you.”

Jane Fulton.

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent”

 Madeleine K. Albright

  • Finding A Voice Through Art, Music And  Writing.

49257613122_87c90e3625_oInos Corradin – Jazz Musician [1988]Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.”

 Leopold Stokowski

There are many kinds of creative acts that enable us to express ourselves and to find our true voice.

Playing and writing music can be a way of finding one’s own personal voice. It can express who we are with a kind of eloquence that is often more powerful than words.

Through making music, we can give voice to our deepest emotions, communicating through sound exactly how we feel and who we are.

“Perhaps you may want to write your own song, analyze the lyrics of a favorite artist, or play an instrument. Perhaps you will explore new genres that are foreign to you. The key is that music is a powerful vehicle for helping you become more aware and honest with yourself.”

Cortney S. Warren PhD, ABPP

Writing is a way of stating  “This is me, this is how I think and what I believe.” It is a self-affirmation, a confirmation of who we are.

“Writing and giving voice to what I am feeling makes me happy. And supporting people in finding their voice, passion, outrage and resistance. There is nothing better than that.”

Eve Ensler

The writing process enables us to discover more about ourselves. Along the way, it will become apparent that we are revealing aspects of our inner world through what we produce on paper or screen.

Some people find that they cannot think without writing things down; this helps them find out what is really going on in their mind.

It is as if writing comes from somewhere deep inside, from a gut level, and sometimes we might feel surprised at the true voices that emerge from our unconscious self.

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”  

Virginia Woolf

Sometimes, however,  only an image will do in order to have a powerful impact.

The image ‘speaks out’ louder than words sometimes. This image may be in paint, sculpture or photography.


Steve McCurry – Afghan Girl [1984] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug a camera”
(Stott 1973)

© Linda Berman.

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