I had the intense pleasure of being on a radio show this week talking to the host about how to stop apologizing. You can listen to the full interview here but it has certainly sparked something within me that I am hoping to flush out in the next little while. I have reached the point in my life, career, relationships, coaching practice where I can no longer tolerate anything less than radical authenticity. I have no time for hiding and I crave the truth above all else. So let this post today be an invitation to stop apologizing for who you are and start connecting with the real you.
I am a communicator. I don’t know if that is a thing but that is certainly how I would describe myself. I don’t feel the need to diminish what I need to say for anyone. This doesn’t mean that I seek to offend or upset anyone, the very opposite is in fact true. I believe that you can communicate exactly what you need to as and when required. Saying what needs to be said comes very naturally to me. Saying what is on everyone’s mind, comes even more naturally to me. Sometimes, those things are difficult but they are always necessary. Why is this so easy for me? It was a process to get to this point of truly owning my voice and who I am and to stop apologizing for it.
Why Is It So Hard?
Saying who you really are is terrifying. It is much easier to mute the inner voice, or to get in line with the status quo. The status quo is boring. People wither on the vine hiding their inner voice. I know why it is so hard. What if the thing you want to say most or the person that you truly are isn’t accepted? What if you aren’t liked or loved by everyone? The fear of rejection can instantly stifle your voice. The need for perfection will stifle your inner voice. The thing that we want most: to be accepted, is the thing that will keep our inner voice hidden. Perhaps you were taught you had to be look, feel, speak, a certain way? If you don’t align with that vision or version of yourself perhaps you will come face to face with deep seated fear of being not enough.
These are just some of the reasons that we hide our voice. Each time that we edit or hide what we want or need to say we move further and further away from ourselves. In the past, I have certainly changed who I am or what I said to fit in or not offend. I was a class A chameleon. Changing my colours to suit everyone else around me got very old in a hurry and it made me lose sight of who I really am. I grew tired of being everything to everyone and decided to work on my relationship to myself instead. My inner voice was yelling at me to speak up and stop apologizing for who I was. This changed everything for me.
Why Is It So Important?
What if you never really say who you are and what you want? I am sure nothing truly bad would happen to you if you chose that path. Our connection to our inner voice is always there. We can become masters at avoiding it or listening to everyone else’s voices instead. That doesn’t mean that it goes away. Your inner voice is ALWAYS communicating with you. Heck, sometimes it is screaming at you and you just turn the volume up on the music. So why does it even matter? If you can live a peaceful life that keeps you safe and you are content with that, I wish you the best. I suspect however, contentment is not nearly as interesting as honesty.
When you are listening to and trusting your inner voice you know exactly who you are and what you think. This is how you learn to communicate from a conflict-free and radically honest place. You don’t need to worry about what you say because it is HAS to be said. You can stop apologizing because you are doing nothing wrong by truly owning your voice. There is an immeasurable amount of freedom that comes when you show up exactly as you are. People will love you and some may not understand you. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t everyone’s favorite flavour of taco. Who wants to enjoy just ONE type of taco? I want ALLLLLL the tacos! And I want all the people in their glorious, unique and extraordinary forms.
We All Want the Same Things
Can I just say that it takes a radical act of bravery to be who you truly are. It takes a level of commitment and strength to decide that you don’t want to waste another minute living someone else’s life or ignoring your voice. Humans are pretty straightforward creatures. We want some pretty basic things in life: food, shelter, safety and happiness. Most importantly, I believe that we are all seeking connection. There is nothing more refreshing when I meet someone of knowing exactly who they are as soon as I speak to them. So often, I have to work to understand the version that people share with me in order to understand them. What colour is this chameleon showing me?
I am disinterested in the chameleons. I want to meet the lions. I want to hear your voice and see who you are. I want to connect with you. I am deeply interested in exactly who you are. When this happens you and I get to be exactly who we are, free from pretense and free from apologizing for it. In this connection of two souls meeting and engaging, there is an immeasurable amount of freedom for both of us. It is liberating and feels so incredible to be seen in an open and transparent way. This is how you experience connection.
Freedom is available to you the minute that you stop pretending or hiding. Make no mistake about it. Owning your voice is the path to freedom. It is the path to true confidence. Every time you say no to the voice inside, it costs you something far more valuable than anything external to you.
Space To Be You
The world needs you. Not the watered down or polite or pacifying version that you share with the world. The outrageously brave and authentic you that has lived a life, learnt from your mistakes, loved, lost and triumphed. I want to know you. The world needs your truth. It needs acceptance and space to understand the million forms that truth takes. We need more of you, not less. I am committed to helping anyone own their voice so that they can let go of the edited and polished version of themselves and show up in radical honesty and share who they are with the world around them. In fact, the chameleons need not apply. We are too busy being fucking lions.