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Finding Our Voices

I really like this expression – finding our voice – and in discussing it with friends I realize it has different meanings depending on the person and the context. As a mediator and conflict management coach I have experienced how these processes facilitate communications in a way that gives people in conflict an opportunity to convey difficult messages – to find their voices. Most often they say they don’t believe they are being heard at these times or that they can articulate what’s on their mind.

Recently I asked some people what they think the expression – finding your voice – means, and here are some things I heard:

“saying what is on my mind and not being afraid to say it”

“being honest and forthright with what I want to tell someone”

“being active in a conversation”

“not holding back my hurts for fear of offending someone”

“not letting others take over the conversation because they seem more confident”

“being okay with not having a popular opinion”

“being less accommodating”

I came to realize how it isn’t only saying what needs to be said if conflict is to be resolved. It’s also being able to hear the other person’s perspective and to respond effectively. Having said that, not all conflicts are necessarily ones that have mutually satisfactory resolutions and the most that disputants may want – to be able to walk away with inner reconciliation – is to find the voice to say what they know – in their gut – has to be said.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider what this expression – finding your voice – means to you within the context of a dispute you are in or have had.

  • Generally-speaking, what does the expression “find your voice” mean to you?
  • What is (was) a dispute about where you haven’t found (didn’t find) your voice using this definition?
  • What are (were) you reluctant to say in that dispute?
  • Why are (were) you reluctant to say that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What do (did) you lose by not saying this?
  • What did the other person lose because you didn’t find your voice?
  • What might you gain (or have gained) by finding your voice?
  • What might the other person gain (have gained)?
  • Where did your voice go that you can’t (couldn’t) find it?
  • What might it take for you to ensure you find your voice in your conflicts?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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