The Gift of 2020: Finding Your Voice

Cami Dobrin / Vecteezy

“Speak up and speak clearly. I want to hear what you have to say because it matters. Let’s listen to each other and respect one another’s opinions.” — Felicia Johnson

2020 could easily be defined as a year of injustice. Or, to put a more positive spin on it: The year that injustice “found a voice.” 2020 brought a myriad of injustices to the fore: A pandemic that caused restrictions on freedom of movement and freedom to work, historic fires and floods that caused huge displacements of people, and racial issues that prompted civil unrest. Each one battled to be heard. Each one tried to find a voice.

For years I felt that I had no voice. Trapped in an abusive relationship, I soon learned that my voice “didn’t matter.” Whatever opinion I had was always the “wrong” one.

Honey, I’m making the best decision for both of us. Trust me, I have more experience than you! Do you really think that’s the best color for you? Do you really want to do that? You know, you probably got it wrong. Of course, they had it. What is wrong with you? You just didn’t look hard enough!

There are so many other people in the world who believe they also don’t have a voice. Or have been bullied into silence.And so it went. My confidence hit rock bottom. Could I really be that wrong about everything? I fell silent, even though my gut was telling me it wasn’t so. Emotional manipulation is a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.

One day, after reaching out for help, I was assured that I wasn’t in fact “always wrong.” I did have a voice. My voice. And it mattered. It was just as valuable as others. I had just been silenced into thinking otherwise.

And so it is. There are so many other people in the world who believe they also don’t have a voice. Or have been bullied into silence. So, I have one simple challenge for you this Holiday season: Help someone find their voice.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Help a neighbor with shopping or pick up prescriptions if the pandemic has got them housebound. Reach out to someone who often appears troubled and offer them an ear for listening. Clear the sidewalk for a busy family, struggling with online school and at-home working. Each of these acts gives someone a voice – it shows that they are heard, and that you are listening. In short, their voice matters.

Giving someone a voice, or finding your own voice again, is a gift. And, once you find it, don’t let anyone ever take that gift away from you again.

Last Updated on November 12, 2020

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