Most people today believe that 'having a voice' means that other people listen to them. Maybe, that means they have 20k followers on Facebook; or a clique of friends that copy their latest handbag; or family members that slavishly adore them and obey every word they say.
Externally, it makes perfect sense that 'having a voice' equates to 'having power', or somehow being able to control or influence others. But if you asked all these super-influential people if they feel like they're truly being heard, and truly being seen, despite all their apparent successes, most of them would say no.
Because even the most authentic persona that you're projecting out there for everyone else is still not the real you. It can come pretty darned close sometimes, but a human being is such an intricate, internal, infinitely spiritual creation that you simply can't capture the whole human essence with words, however hard you try.
So then, what does it really mean to 'find your true voice', and to truly be 'heard' in the world?
Here's what I think: when you're talking about wanting to be able to find your true voice, what you're really saying is that you want to know what part you're meant to be playing in the world.
You know you have something unique to bring to the party, some special way of building the world that only you can accomplish, and you're searching for some way to express that yearning for purpose in your actual life.
And here's the thing: no-one else even needs to know about it, for you to be able to make your voice 'heard' in that way. It's enough for you yourself to hear it. What am I talking about?
Let's say, you have the soul of a poet, even though you're currently working as a hairdresser. No-one needs to know about the journal you're starting, or the secret blog you're addressing in rhyme every night. You know, and God knows, and that's enough to feel heard.
Or, let's say you're trying to bring out your light by developing more patience and understanding for others. No-one else will know when you bite your tongue instead of snapping at your 10 year old - but that is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression imaginable.
The Ethics of the Fathers states: 'Who is truly a hero (or 'strong man')? Someone who controls himself. By choosing silence over screaming, you just found your voice.
That's not to say that speech can't play a part in finding your voice and your true sense of self, because of course it can. Every time you talk to God, you're finding your voice. Every time you talk to a friend or a relative, and you give them words of encouragement, kindness and inspiration, you're finding your voice.
Every time you tell yourself that things are going to turn out OK, and encourage yourself to keep going, even when things look their bleakest, that's finding your true voice.
Sure, it's easier to re-Tweet the latest celebrity gossip or someone else's news, but know one thing: that may get you a lot of external attention, but that's not the same as truly being heard.