I have always felt that one of the greatest tragedies of humankind is the silencing of the heart’s voice. From a very young age, many of us have received the message that it is not safe to communicate a need or a desire.
For certain cultures – for instance, the typical Asian culture I have grown up in – we learn to swallow our words and say nothing in the name of “keeping the peace”. It is just the “right thing to do”. When we speak out about something that seems to sound different from the communal mindset, or rocks the boat, we are made fun of or called weird or a rebel. We are ‘punished’ for speaking out differently.
This often leads to shame and so many end up choosing to suppress their opinions for a long, long time. The shame festers into bitterness. Others go the other extreme by becoming rebellious and opposing the system for the sake of it. They support mantras that protest the need for individualism and “owning your own truth”, and oftentimes, this stems from a place of pain. A cry for help. “I need to be heard. I need my heart to be honoured.”
I don’t think that every single thought that we have is always right or true. In the journey of life, it is of utmost importance that we remain open to correction and learning. I agree that incorrect belief systems need to be addressed because holding on to them can be so destructive for us in the long run.
However, I think that we can do better at honouring people by giving them space to process and express thoughts safely. Discussion and teaching of truths have their time and place, but these cannot precede the step of holding space for expression.
This is why I give my time to provide a creative platform for writers and young budding artists to express, articulate, and form their unique voices. My hope is that by taking them through the process of discovering what’s in their hearts, not only will they walk away with the necessary communicative skills for life’s work, but they can also discover that it is safe to let their voice be heard, no matter how different.