We all deserve to feel seen and heard…
We’re living in a culture that often expects people who are quiet, sensitive, shy or experiencing social anxiety to ‘step up’ and share their stories, raising their voices to match the volume of the room; to position themselves so that they can be seen and heard by others.
But, for us quieteers in our society, flexing so far from our true nature can feel like self-betrayal and even impossible to achieve.
What’s more, the societal norms of communication can send us the message that we’re not good enough. That we’re broken or wrong, causing us to shrink and stay small.
All too often, we’re spoken over and interrupted, listening to other people but not being truly heard, feeling like we don’t matter and don’t have something worthwhile to contribute. But we do.
Right now, the onus is on the quiet person to build confidence, speak up and fit in, accommodating others’ communication styles. But it shouldn’t have to be this way.
Of course, we wholeheartedly advocate for personal growth to strengthen our confidence, wellbeing and authenticity as individuals.
But we do not believe that we should have to stretch ourselves as far as seems necessary at times. It is not our job to match the louder, chattier or more dominant people in the room so that our voices can be heard.
We believe that there should be more inclusion, fairness and equal opportunities in society for quiet people like us. Environments where we can flourish as our true selves.
…Quiet voices are important, too
As quiet and sensitive people, we believe that it is our responsibility to take up space and allow our questions, stories, and perspectives to be heard. What we have to say matters. Our voices, curiosities and wisdom deserve to and needs to be shared.
But… it is not our responsibility to create that space so that we have somewhere to step into. This is about inclusion, fairness and equality.
- It’s the role of educators and employers to provide time and methods for more sensitive and reflective communicators and to avoid shaming when the go-to style doesn’t work for an individual.
- It’s the chattier friends of the quiet ones pausing, asking questions and inviting them to share, showing that they are interested in them as a whole person, not just as a listener.
- It’s parents, teachers, partners, friends, and colleagues noticing and celebrating a person’s quieter strengths and qualities, and the value they bring to their lives, and to their place of work and education.
- It’s all of us recognising the quiet voices in the room and gently inviting them to the table and offering permission to take up space.
- It’s all of us noticing when voices are overshadowed and shut down and harnessing our courage to shine a light on what’s happening.
- It’s recognising when we ourselves speak over and silence someone and inviting them back into the conversation.
- It’s realising that we all must be flexible in our approach to communicating and having the courage and compassion to create space for others and to step into that space ourselves.
- And behind that kind, brave action, it’s all of us seeing and believing that all temperaments are equal; we’re all important, and we each have something valuable to contribute because of our uniqueness. It’s knowing that we are better together.
💙 If you consider yourself to have a quieter voice, we want to offer you permission to step into your power, take up your rightful space, kindly educate the ‘stage hogs’ in your life, and invite other quieteers to the table, too.
💙 And if you have one of the louder voices in the room, we’re inviting you to consider all the ways that you can use your existing comfort, power and position in the spotlight to make sure that all voices are heard and offer gentle invitations to the quiet ones.
On behalf of all quieteers, thank you for joining the mission to include and amplify quieter voices. We would love to hear your thoughts, what action you’ll be taking, and what has helped you feel heard. Please feel free to comment below.