Earlier this summer, I completed a Public Speaking and Presentation course at Humber College. I learned about the importance of finding my voice and how to speak confidently in public. My classes involved tasks in which each student had to speak while being recorded. This was totally out of my comfort zone! The moment the camera was on, I froze!
One of my assignments was to recite and analyze famous speeches. I chose both Oprah’s Golden Globe speech and Michelle Obama’s speech in support of Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential election. I have always admired both women because they use their voices to inspire others and are very passionate about their messages. Both Oprah and Michelle gave messages of hope and encouragement to speak your truth!
After reflecting on their messages, and rereading certain quotes numerous times, I realized that I had never had the confidence to speak my truth! Years of being bullied caused me to be self-conscious when I spoke. It had affected me so much that even when I was asked a simple question, I became nervous. In fact, I realized that I was afraid of saying what was on my mind.
During both my elementary and secondary school years, I was often laughed at when I answered questions in class. This would make me question whether I had answered correctly or if I had misinterpreted the question. Eventually, I stopped participating during discussions. I felt it would easier to remain silent.
Keeping silent not only affected the way I spoke but also the way I communicated my thoughts on important issues. I would constantly over-think what I should say because I worried I would be judged. Maybe my opinion didn’t matter… or maybe I was just insecure. I didn’t realize at the time how much being bullied had impacted the power of my voice – my truth!
Public Speaking taught me that finding your voice isn’t about speaking loudly in a room but about finding the confidence in your voice and in your message. I knew it was time to voice my opinion on important topics and not worry about what people might think.
I have learned that no one should never be afraid to speak their mind. Never allow others to take away your voice. Bullies may try to silence you but as Oprah said, “Speaking your truth is the most important tool we all have.”
I found my voice again…and I’m not afraid to speak my truth!