Why does being heard and understood feel so good?
When we are forced into situations that consistently silence our thoughts and feelings, it makes us wonder if we bring any value into the world. In turn, that leads us to wonder if we are valuable at all.
Let’s put an end to that question right now with some words of affirmation.
You are valuable. Your thoughts and feelings are valuable. What you have to say is valuable and you are valuable inside and out.
Were you silenced when you had something really important to say?
Is there a book you can think of where a character was silenced when they had something to say?
I’ll share both a story and an experience in my life. The first story that comes to mind for me is Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s monster only wanted to be heard and listened to but people were too afraid of his appearance to hear him. This caused him to feel unloved and unaccepted. Here’s a quote
If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Frankenstein’s monster found other ways to be heard and understood. Let’s pretend, in a world where he was heard maybe he’d say something more like,
I will not cause fear when I can inspire love.
Well, that’s what we shoot for. The point is, he was being silenced when all he needed was to be heard and understood. As we can see by the monster’s words, (not our pretend ones) he chose to take a path of destruction when he was consistently not heard by both those around him and his creator. But let’s find a better way than Frankenstein’s monster. Let’s get our voices heard.
Ok let’s talk about a personal story for me. When I was in high school, I was really struggling. I cried daily in school. I had frequent absences. I had super low self-esteem and barely ate food. One day, I begged my mom to call the school and explain to them how much I was struggling. She asked for a mentor and/or books so I could get homeschooled, but since I was a “good kid” they wouldn’t help. I eventually found myself at night school and graduated with my diploma but getting my diploma didn’t solve the problem. I needed more. I needed someone listen to me, hear me, and take time to understand me and the things I was struggling with at home. It would have been life saving. My academics didn’t need support, I needed to be heard and understood. I was never taught how to validate my own feelings. I was never taught how to listen and understand myself. All I knew was that I needed more support and I was struggling to find it. I continued to struggle even with a high school diploma. Eventually this lead to destructive behaviors into my adulthood. The toxic relationships, over-giving, and still not eating enough all grew bigger and dominated my adulthood. Once I got to college, I finally got more support. I learned to listen to myself and learned the many ways (that I used to think was selfish), I could intentionally take time to understand myself.
How does all this apply to creative writing?
In writing, I get to let myself be wild and free, like my hair. I make my characters or the narrator speak up, I have them ask questions, and they even rebel against those who don’t respect their thoughts and feelings. I have learned so much from studying the development of all my characters, and I try to use my writing to find different ways to advocate for myself.
So to answer the question we started with,
Why does being heard and understood feel so good?
Being heard and understood by others mirrors your value back to you, but we can’t place our value in others. Some people don’t listen or understand themselves, maybe they are still learning to fully value themselves. This means they aren’t capable of reflecting your value back to you. We must learn to mirror our value back to ourselves. This is where listening and understanding yourself is the direct path to creative freedom. Why? because the amazing gift you receive from learning to hear and understand yourself is that you can genuinely bring value to those around you by just being you! And as an added bonus, this brings value and depth to your characters! It’s wild how everything is so connected. I love it.
So let’s go back to our words of affirmation. Words of affirmation are great, buuut what’s important when it comes to words of affirmation is to believe them so intently that your actions line up with them. Here’s the affirmation again.
You are valuable. Your thoughts and feelings are valuable. What you have to say is valuable. You are valuable inside and out.
How would -or do your actions support these words? If you’re still learning to hear and understand yourself, what can you do to show that you believe these words are true?
Here’s some ideas.
As conscious writers, we must take time to hear and understand ourselves so that our freedom to be heard can be endless!
What habits help you to hear and understand yourself?
- Minding your circle
- Staying away from spaces that silence you
6 Ways to intentionally hear and understand yourself
- Use words of affirmation followed by supportive actions
- Believe yourself
- Allow your feelings to flow through you and trusting they have their place in your life
- Study the works and lives of leaders who inspire you
- Learn your values and goals
- When people say nice things about you, believe them
Do what you feel pulled to do. What interests you, what inspires you, what you are curious about –follow those things. This is one of the most fun and adventurous ways we learn to understand ourselves.
In conclusion, when you find your freedom to be heard, you will have gained one out of three of the most important tools that lead to creative freedom!
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4 thoughts on “Freedom to Be Heard”