“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, 'I will try again tomorrow.'”
Mary Anne Radmacher
Everyone has a voice. Everyone has something to say, whether they utter the words, or not. Some of us do roar—we protest injustice, we march, we demonstrate, we petition our representatives to do our will. Some of us write letters to the editor, post protestations and testimonies on social media, and some of us just talk among our friends. Albert Einstein once wrote: “Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes—good will among men and peace on earth.”
Sometimes a small voice is called for. On a personal level, when a boundary needs to be set with a co-worker, a family member, or a friend, one is wise to use a small, non-threatening, and yet crystal-clear voice. Sometimes, “Please don't do that again,” is sufficient. We do more harm than good when we take our personal displeasure to the very public pages of Facebook. Our voices should not be stifled, but public humiliation is something else altogether.
It is also good to think about what you want to express before you open your mouth and speak it. Sometimes we just say whatever thought drops onto our tongues, and then spend the next twenty minutes, or the next twenty years, trying to undo or explain what we meant. That is doubly true when it comes to social media. When you put out a rant, the repercussions may surprise you. Reputations and opportunities have been erased by one swipe of a twitter feed.
Your authentic voice is important. But, just as important is speaking in ways that others can hear and understand. When we roar, sometimes people just plug their ears and run for cover. If we truly want to be heard, clarity, authenticity, non-blaming, non-threatening, non-sarcastic words work best. Courage is demonstrated, not by volume, but by clear language backed up by honest action.
In the Spirit,