Too many times in life, we are misunderstood. We are judged; our potential is not recognized, and our voices are not heard. If this sounds familiar, it is probably because you have had trouble finding your voice.

Whether on a larger scale, something has been assumed about you that could not be more misguided or on a smaller scale, someone has misconceived something you said or did, you need to speak up.

I have been misjudged and prejudged countless times, and I was not able to speak up because I was overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. However, there is one thing I know for sure: You will never be understood unless you explain; you will not be heard if you do not speak; you will never get an answer if you do not ask.

You may not get what you want in life unless you find your voice.

Too often, when you have been completely misunderstood and every vibration in your body is on the verge of yelling out, “No, you have it all wrong,” your voice stays trapped.

Your voice is likely trapped somewhere deep within. Your voice is paralyzed by fear; the fear of rejection, the fear of embarrassment, the fear of failure or the fear of the unknown could all be sources of paralysis.

There is so much I wish he knew and so much I wish I could tell him.

The breakup is a classic instance in which your voice may be trapped.

Perhaps, months after the breakup, you still think about all of the things that were left unsaid, the things he doesn’t know that you wish he knew and the things you still want to tell him.

In the Millennial dating culture, the term “breakup” refers to anything from someone ending things after only three dates to ending a relationship after three years.

Perhaps, you wrote a letter to get it all out but never sent it. Your voice was trapped, which is why so much was left unsaid. In the case of unrequited love, often, our voices are trapped because we are too afraid of rejection.

We don’t know how the other person would respond if he or she knew how we felt, and we feel it may be easier to not know. The unknown is much less scary if it remains unknown.

You may be 99 percent sure you will be rejected, but if there’s a 1 percent chance you’re wrong, it’s still worth it to speak up.

Even if you are rejected or embarrassed, at least you are now understood. If you are transparent, the anxiety, which stems from feeling misunderstood, dissipates, leaving you feeling calmer.

If you fail to use your voice and speak up when you need to clarify something, you’ll get into the bad habit of being a passive bystander in your own life.

If they knew the truth, that incorrect assumption might never have been made about me.

Sometimes, there is a missing puzzle piece of truth, which is a small fact that had someone known, he or she would not have made an incorrect assumption.

It’s possible that you could find that missing puzzle piece simply by using your voice. And, if you found it, would it have prevented the breakup? Would it have prevented a failure?

Maybe. You’ll never know without first learning to free your imprisoned voice.

Those who make assumptions without knowing the whole story may discourage you from speaking up.

It is your voice, however, that can clear things up; it is your voice that may make the difference so that next time, others make sure to know the big picture before making any assumptions.

Your voice can make a difference in other people’s lives and in your own. However complicated and frightening it may seem to use your voice, everything is even more complicated when you fail to speak up.

Once you find your voice, do not let those who are committed to misunderstanding you discourage you from using it. Those people who don’t understand make the ones who do that much more special.

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