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Last night, I had two of my closest friends over.
As we settled into making dinner, one taking up position at the oven creating prawn risotto, my other friend and I squeezed our chairs in around the oven so we could all chat.
We had mugs of tea. It was cozy, wild wind was blowing outside, and dinner was cooking.
All was well.
I had only recently introduced these two friends, and they dived into getting to know each other better, one rapid firing questions at the other about all aspects of her life. Their attention, eye contact, and availability became totally focused on one another.
I knew I felt uncomfortable, a bit left out, but in that moment, I didn’t trust my dear friendship with these two enough to say something. I went into feeling little, sad, and like a victim as the animated conversation went on around me.
When I asked myself what I could say, I came up with “I feel left out; I want to be included.” But I judged this as being “brattish” and kept silent.
I had varying waves of sadness and anger after they went home. In the middle of the night, my son arrived home from a party. With the lights going on and off, doors opening and closing, I was suddenly wide awake, still ruminating on the evening’s events.
I made myself a cup of decaf tea in my favourite cream cup, and decided to catch up on one of the training videos from Elephant Academy that I had missed. Part way through, the question arose:
“How often do we have to find our voice?”
Varying answers were guessed. Once? Daily?
The answer: moment by moment.
I asked myself to find my voice. How do I feel? What would I like? Sleep came, and in the morning, the answer.
I felt sad.
I wanted to be included.
I wanted to be part of the conversation.
This was the truth of the moment.
I called my friends to apologize for not being honest with them the night before, and shared my truth. This led them to share that the conversation hadn’t really worked for them either, and they too were caught up in not quite speaking their truths.
If just one of us had said something, it would have helped all three of us to find our voice.
The most striking change I noticed was that in my not-speaking place, I had become angry enough to not want to talk to my dear friends for a few days. The contrast was the relief of finding my voice, speaking my truth, hearing their truth, and a deeper, more trusting connection being created.
I was aware of feeling peaceful. A sobering lesson about how the quality of my connections rests on finding and speaking my voice.