“Women are conditioned to be quiet, take up less space, and be the support system for others throughout their lives.”
In this episode, I dive into the topic of finding your voice. It’s important for women to identify why they feel unheard and speak out.
I’ll guide you through reflecting on past experiences and societal conditioning that may have influenced this limitation and offer practical tips to make changes in how you interact with your environment – whether that be your workplace, business, or relationships.
Throughout the episode, I share my personal journey of struggling to find my voice and how I overcame it. From singing to public speaking, teaching, and podcasting, I found various ways to express myself and break free from the constraints society puts on us as women in midlife.
I emphasize that finding your voice goes beyond just speaking; it’s about expressing yourself authentically in all areas of life.
If you’ve ever felt overlooked or dismissed, this episode is for you. Together, we’ll unravel common responses to being unheard, empower ourselves to show up more powerfully, and navigate the unique challenges that midlife brings.
Let’s reclaim our voices, live authentically, and connect with other women who understand our journey.
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Full Episode Transcript
Well, hello, my friend. How are you? Today’s podcast is all about finding our voice and expressing our voice in the broader sense of the word. And I believe this to be one of the deeper and most important tasks for us as women. Going through this midlife arc, journey and transition. And you may have felt that, like me, My whole life there has been a thread of finding my voice and that has been elevated for me in midlife, in part because of This societal template that women in midlife fade, shrink, our impact becomes less, generally speaking.
My experience has been… that this is the time for me to really find my authentic voice. And it’s not just in the words that I speak, but it is in how I express myself in my life, in my community, and in my world. And I do actually think that this is a very important task for women in midlife. When you sort of scrape away the, I feel stuck. I don’t know which direction I need to go in. I don’t feel like I have a purpose. I am lost. What is underneath is in part about the fullest, most authentic expression of the self. Because this is a sub conscious and super conscious need for us as human beings.
And I’m not just talking about expression of self as in egotistical, look at me, look at me. It is much, much deeper than that. And it is more around what are you, as a person in your most unique structure, here to express into this world, which of course comes back to love in action, which is one of our core reasons for being at the deepest, deepest level.
So we already have
the societal conditioning that girls should be quieter, take up less space. Physically, emotionally, energetically,
throughout our whole lives and then we come into midlife and we are hit by a mismatch of what is going on in our hormones, in our nervous system and the upgrade that is happening in our brain and the generalised societal Expectation for women in midlife, which is I believe, is to carry on, be the good woman, do it quietly, look after everyone else, be there in support.
But there is not room in our culture and our society For a full expression of self as a midlife woman. It is looked down upon, belittled
and criticized from many, many corners. There is not the opening and space for us as women to step into an authentic expression of ourselves. And this is what I mean by Finding our voice. It’s more than just the words that we use, right.
This is the one of the deeper tasks for us as women in midlife. Now once we’ve sort of highlighted for ourselves or we understand for ourselves these wants and needs and desires that I have, once We’ve uncovered what they are because for many of us all that we’re seeing and sensing is a sense of stuck and Lost and I don’t know what my direction is.
And is this it that once we Scratch that away and we can sense the desire for more in our life Part of this is about finding our voice and expressing that in the world Then what we see are these familiar fears that arise So I might have a desire to express the truth of my nature of my self in action in the world through midlife and my Parenting tasks are now becoming less as my children become adults and grow and find their way in the world.
They’re still there, but they’re becoming less
dependent on my time. And so now there becomes more space for considering who am I? How do I want to express myself in my life and what is stopping me? So on one level, as I spoke to, we have all of the myths and misconceptions around what it should mean to be a woman in midlife. And we find ourselves in midlife as women and realize that this is very contrary to what is emerging in us and how we want to express.
So that’s the societal conditioning challenge. And then we have coming from that, we have these fears that arise and they are more like These are my fears, so they’re personal, but they are deeply related to our societal conditioning, right? And so what are some of the fears that arise in you if you consider and step into a fuller of yourself?
And that could mean moving into a different career or business direction. That could mean expressing yourself more. Online, in your marketing, if you are in business, it could mean expressing your needs and desires differently in your personal relationships and in your romantic relationships. And so when we realize that we need to break out of that box that we’re in and we are being called forward, so that’s the deeper calling of this time and to ignore it.
Is to somehow smother the fire, the light that has ignited inside of us. That is the opportunity of midlife. And so some very normal fears that arise when you consider this wanting to show up differently, desiring to show up differently in your life are, what if nobody listens? What if nobody listens?
What if people think I’m stupid?
What if I don’t succeed? And what if they don’t take me seriously? So just notice if any one of those gave you a little rise in your nervous system. That’s a clue that there’s some information under the surface there for you. So, one for me that really, that can trigger my nervous system is what if people think I’m stupid?
And I notice if I get the uh, snarky comments on my posts, which I don’t get heaps, but when they show up, my first reaction will be to… Imagine that that person is thinking that I’m just stupid and I shouldn’t be taken seriously. So we can notice what our triggers are and know that, yes, these are very familiar fears and normally they run under the surface without us identifying them, but they have a massive impact and stop us from moving forward.
What if I apply for that new role, that new job, and I don’t succeed? I fail. What if? So the first thing I think is to identify them, to get really clear around, well what are my fears? Once you’ve identified them, Follow that up with an understanding of, yes, this fear is here, but it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with me or that I’m broken.
This fear is a byproduct of gender and social conditioning that has been with me throughout my life and for generations before I was born in regards to how society perceives the role of women.
And so for each fear, we can Turn that on its head and create
an affirmative statement that supports us in our authentic expression and in finding our voice. And those statements can look like, I matter, this project, job, business goal matters. My voice matters because everybody’s voice matters. I can surround myself with women who are at a similar stage of life to me and be seen in that way.
One of the big pieces that show up for women that I speak to is that they feel very unseen. as they enter into midlife. And I’ve experienced it as well. So we go from those stages of maiden to mother and then supposedly to crone. Some people are now suggesting we have this stage before Crone which is Queen and then into Crone.
But let’s just the word Crone as being the wise woman. That word Crone has been so denigrated in society as being an ugly old woman. But actually it’s meaning. Encompasses so much wisdom.
And so for many women in midlife we feel unseen. And particularly for women that I speak to that are working in male dominated workplace cultures, environments.
They feel very unseen because they are unseen. Because this is what is dictated by our culture. And this is not necessarily blaming men because they have been raised in that same culture. It takes a lot to wake up from gender conditioning and societal conditioning around our gender roles. And all genders, carry the burden of that.
And so a counter to that being, feeling, unseen, because I don’t want to pretend that reality doesn’t exist, right? It is a very common experience for us women in midlife that we receive less acknowledgement. We are less seen. We are looked over. I have had numerous experiences now being in midlife where I was seen when I was younger so much more in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, right?
For just my physical appearance. As many, many women experience and then I come into midlife and the perception of me is so changed. And it’s so interesting noticing with some amusement how overlooked I can be in general kind of social gatherings.
And the reason I can be amused about it on one level is because I understand the conditioning we’re all a part of and that flavours how we perceive each other.
That there will be an assumption and expectation of who I am. Just because of the way I look now, and that I am somehow socially less valuable as a middle aged woman, and how I don’t let that bother me. How I come to be okay with that and see the ridiculousness of it, is that I do understand that we’re all a product of our conditioning.
And this is where it comes from. And I make assumptions about people as well, based on how they look. For sure. We all do that. And so if I can own that in myself, I can understand that in others. And what I do to support myself to be really seen and feel like I am part of a community that sees me, honors me, and respects me, is surround myself with women of a similar age. I have a variety of ages of friends, some younger, some older, but I get myself into those connections
with women who see me and we can offer this to one another. And this is such a big piece beyond the. Beyond the breakthrough, the personal breakthrough work that women are doing in my course is the, I suppose it’s healing, but it’s somehow this heartful respect from other women that they offer to each other on the group calls.
And that goes so, so far. You know, when we heard. And we’re seen and we’re acknowledged. This does so much good for our heart, for our nervous system, for our brain, for our full, whole selves. It’s such a big piece. In terms of finding my voice, like I said, it’s been a thread through my whole life. And one of my I always laugh when I tell stories about what my mum has told me, because sometimes I think she used to kind of make things up and wasn’t sure that she could remember them, but she would just sort of say what she thought sounded good from my childhood.
And I get it now, being a woman in midlife, gone through menopause, that, hmm, memory can be quite fluid sometimes, but anyway, one of my mum’s stories was that I took a long time to talk. And to speak as a toddler.
And when I was a teenager, when my nervous system went into fight and flight, well it actually went slightly beyond that, it went to an, into some sort of shutdown, I actually found it really, really hard to speak. Like everything would close down inside of me and I would find it difficult to say words in social situations particularly.
And that continued on through to my adulthood. And I sometimes think that I became a counsellor to heal and unwind that thread around finding my voice. Yes. I spend a lot of time listening,
but I also share my voice in a way that has impact and a capacity for healing with people around me. That’s my thread on my voice and some of the things that I find helpful for us to find our voice. to express ourselves, to change things up. Because if you’re going through perimenopause menopause, you have those hormone fluctuations and your, the connections in your brain are changing, which is why it can feel like we’re a little bit all over the place, emotionally and psychologically.
And this is a prime, prime time to get out of the ruts that we are in, in terms of how we relate with others. In many things in our life, but particularly in terms of how we relate with others and how we express ourselves in the world.
And the things that have helped me shake that up have been things like singing. Public speaking, even though I found it very, very frightening initially, and teaching. So part of counseling and teaching is about being really, really present to what somebody is saying and not necessarily knowing what I am going to say in reply, but being so present that I can trust.
What comes through me as an expression in acknowledgement and reply to my client or whoever’s speaking in the group. And of course, podcasting has been an amazing growth place for me to share my voice in a,
in a new and different way.
And if you’re listening to this, I don’t know, and you’re having an experience of well, why do I want to share my voice? I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to say. I believe that we all have an important piece of the puzzle to offer into life.
And I don’t know that I have anything earth shattering to say, but I do know that some of the things that I say hit just the right moment for some of you.
And the same goes for you. There could be one thing that you say to a person or express out in the world that makes a really big difference. To somebody, and you may never know what that was or what you said, and that’s okay, because we’re expressing the fullness of ourselves, because that’s part of life’s journey.
And in that fuller expression of ourselves as women in midlife, we may well be supporting others on their journey. And I have seen that time and time again.
Yeah, we know words can hurt and harm, and words, even when we don’t know they are, can be incredibly healing for those around us.
So, I hope that I’ve given a really good case for why it is important for us to find our voice as women in midlife. If you’re dissatisfied in any area of your life, finding your voice and the most authentic expression of yourself is part of the task of getting unstuck, right? Asking for what you need, even if it’s asking yourself and finding out what your needs are and what your desires are, we are not taught to understand our own internal desires.
I’m not just talking about sex, I’m talking about desire for many different experiences in life. We’re actually taught to be the good girl and shut those desires down. Finding our voice is the outgrowing of that and growing into the fullness of ourselves. It is not about becoming the most demanding woman in the room.
I’m not talking about that at all. I’m talking about showing up, expressing ourselves fully, walking in our life with a sense of self worth. This is so important for us.
So we know that the environment around us is not particularly conducive for this. We know that. We acknowledge that. That is how it is. So we have that. But then the second part that we need to notice is our response to the environment, right? So if I, if I share what I think is a pertinent point in a meeting, for example,
and it is met with nothing, it is overlooked, it is over talked, it is ignored, which I have heard from many women in leadership roles that this happens for them, particularly in a male dominated It’s a very common experience, how do I respond to that? And these responses that I’m going to speak to are really, really normal responses because what has happened is that we’ve come into a stressful state or the stressful state in our nervous system has accelerated.
So, do I shut down? Do I become defensive in that moment? Do I panic and lose my words or become very flustered and lose my ability to speak clearly? Do I move into people pleasing when I’m challenged, ignored or overlooked? Do I get rattled when I’m challenged? So just identifying what happens when our expression of ourselves, so we’ve expressed something verbally or, with ideas and it hasn’t been received well from the environment or it’s been just completely overlooked or ignored.
Very common experience for women in the workplace. What then happens in my response? Shut down, defensive, panic, people pleasing.
So the clearer we become about this. The more skilful we become at being able to unwind it. Because if I shut down, when my expression is overlooked, talked over, ignored, what’s going to happen? I’m going to stay shut down, I’m going to stay ignored and overlooked. And I’ve seen this for women going through, uh, when we’ve been working together and this has been a really common pattern, especially in the workplace.
And then something has shifted in their belief in themselves. And let me illustrate for you an example of how this can change. So in the past I might have expressed my opinion or ideas on a particular subject matter. It’s been shut down or overlooked, completely ignored. What I may have done then is shut down myself.
Lose my voice. Lose my center of gravity. I become ungrounded. I just sort of shut down.
And so then that becomes a repeating cycle when I’ve done the work internally that I take women through the change that happens is this. I First of all, show up differently within myself. I am less attached to how my words are received. And the irony is, the less attached we are to how my words are received and whether they’re accepted means that I can show up way more powerfully or from a much more embodied place.
So I show up from that place and I speak from that place. And the likelihood of My ideas being overlooked or shut down or ignored are less, but even if they are, I have an opportunity in that moment to not shut down, but to stay open and engaged. And as some clients have said to me, well, I just really didn’t care that much what their response was.
I knew what I was saying was reasonable. I had backup for it. It was an accurate. piece to put forward and I was Okay, if they were going to challenge me on it or I didn’t feel less than if they overlooked me So you can see that we can break through those patterns we don’t necessarily have to be the loudest person in the room, but there is a As we’re finding our voice in the bigger sense of the word as women,
how we speak and the energy behind what we’re saying changes. This has more impact and yeah, it might not land every time, but even when it doesn’t land, my self worth and self esteem is not going to be hammered for days at a time. So this is how we break out of those cycles and really find our voice as women.
So a good thing to a good next step for you if you wanted to play with this. And think about it for your life is to consider, where do I have a voice in my life and in my world? Where am I heard? And where do I not have a voice in my life, my work, my relationships, my business, my family, my partnership?
Where is it? Where do I not have a voice? And once you identify just one area, you might ask yourself,
and what are the reasons I’m afraid to speak out? Oh, I know exactly what they’re going to say back to me. There’s really no point saying it. They always demean me and put me down when I speak out. So just notice what your brain tells you about that. And that might. Have been the reality in the past. So I’m not asking us to deny reality.
But I think by identifying how we interact with our environment and becoming clearer about that, we can start to make changes in how we speak out in the world.
And you might ask yourself, who are the people or voices that inhibit me from speaking out?
They might be doing that totally unconsciously. It could be that it’s a, uh, male in my life who has a certain physicality that reminds me of somebody in my early life that is really triggering to me. And I lose my power.
By identifying that, we can then start to unwind it. So that’s that little bit of homework for you. If you want to play with that, if this has been something that you’ve gone, Hi, you know what? In my workplace, when I go into those weekly meetings, that right there is where I lose my voice and my sense of self worth and power in who I am.
And I find it really hard to get my point across.
So go through this podcast and listen to the pieces and identify what comes up for you. What shows up in your nervous system? How do you respond when that happens? What particular area does it show up in? Is there one particular person that triggers it more than others? It doesn’t mean that we necessarily need to change that person but we can look at how we can change how we respond to that person.
This is how we become much more empowered as women in our lives and I think it’s such a valuable piece for us to look at because we can often get swamped by, well I just don’t feel seen and heard in all of my life. But can I start with one area and look, if you’re working with that one area and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, then reach out to me, let’s have a chat about it and see if I can help you to bring forward that voice that I know you have.
So that you can feel so much more empowered to speak up in your life. This is also a really strong thread of my midlife upgrade course, which I must tell you is just such a delight to be running with these groups of women and the shifts that are coming. I’m just so excited to see. How, when we see each other as women and we go through these particular processes that the empowered state of you just rises to the surface because ultimately finding your voice is not just about the things that you say.
It’s a lived expression of your authentic self. It’s about being true to what matters most to you and expressing this in your life.
This is the emotional, psychological freedom that although it feels miles away. Is actually available to us as women in midlife as we go through this transition within our middle years. And my desire, my hope is that more and more women can be and feel empowered in their lives. And that doesn’t have to look like we are on I was going to say we’re on magazine covers, but who reads magazines anymore?
But it doesn’t mean that we have the biggest following on social media or that we have all these public acknowledgements. What it means to me is that we show up in our family, our relationships, our businesses, our lives, from an empowered place. We say what needs to be said in our relationships.
Because it is in the connection and the expression that we build bridges of greater connection with one another, that we feel supported in our lives, that we break out of that isolated bubble that we find ourselves in.
May you find your true, authentic, empowered voice. It’s a lifelong journey for me and I know it’s a lifelong journey for many of us. Go well my friend, speak up, live out, and I’ll see you next week.