What's Better? Volume of Voice or Presence of Voice?


Making Your Voice Matter

As the seasons start changing soon, there are MANY things I love about Fall.  One of those things is the falling of leaves and all the beautiful colors that will start to blossom in the coming months. While sitting here writing this article, I feel a metaphor rise up about our voices.  Yours and mine.  Each unique.  Each able.  Each one powerful in its own way.

I think about those leaves falling and how quiet it would have to be to hear them.  Our world is so loud, and I don't mean planes, trains, automobiles, whistles, sirens, and storms, although all of that drowns out silence every day.

I'm talking about the other things that are loud in our world.  Our doubts, our internal chit chats with ourselves that drive us mad, our constant comparisons, and our irrational fears & deepest desires.  These are the things we just beg someone to notice and understand.  We want to be understood & heard, all of us. But what if we are trying so hard to be heard, it's coming at the expense of the quality of our voices & the altering of other lives?

Why are we sometimes more focused on the volume of our voices as opposed to the presence of them? 

When did it all become about quantity over quality? 

What I Mean by Presence of Voice

I have known people who felt more powerful, better even, if they spoke over me.  If they yelled loud enough, it made them feel more important.  The funny thing?  It was in those moments I heard what they were trying to convey the least.  Have you been in this situation?

I used to work for a woman like this.  She would come out of her high-powered office and ream me out in front of a lot of people who were in ear-shot over a letter SHE wrote that had a comma in the wrong place (that I typed).  At the time, it did feel humiliating.  What I had to realize however, was the stripping of dignity she was assigning to herself - that there was a deep reason she had to demean me in order to empower herself.  To her, volume trumped presence.

The Packaging of Volume

Volume of voice doesn't always come in yelling form.  It can also be heard in these thoughts:

  • let me see how many hurtful words I can pack into one thought to get my point across.
  • how can I remind that person they hurt me and I haven't forgotten?
  • I'm going to remind her for the rest of her life of something that happened 10 years ago, because apathy is acceptable for me.  It empowers me to hold it against her rather than to move forward.
  • I'll never give that child a cent - they didn't make the choices I wanted them to make in their life

Make no mistake about it - volume isn't just the spoken word - it can be the written word or even the unsaid word.

The Power of the Present Voice

The greatest good we can do for others is not to share our riches but to reveal theirs. --BJ Marshall

This is the power of the present voice defined.  We literally hold the power of life and death in our mouths.  Look around, then ask yourself how many people you know who constantly talk about death and don't feel alive. 

Maybe, just maybe, our lives could actually become more about speaking into the lives of others who need it and less about "being heard" (always trying to remind others we have more).  Maybe today and more often, you and I could focus more on who needs the knowledge of where we've been, other than a deep-seated need to remind someone why they don't deserve our love or affection (because maybe they hurt us).  Perhaps life was meant to be more about the impact we could make - the presence of our voice and not the volume.

Maybe if you and I took more time to actually hear those around us, our own worlds would quiet some.  We aren't creating the noise, you and I, we are allowing it. When we're silent, other things get louder.  The seasons change, the leaves fall, & we never hear it.

In the comments, let me know what is loud around you.  What are you allowing to be louder than the presence of your voice?

Love & Light,


Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash