I’ve been told to speak up more times than I can count. And it’s been implied that, for anyone to truly notice my value, my intelligence or my gifts, I have to be loud, make noise, stand out, and tell the world. While I think this is true in many instances—after all, we wouldn’t ever have scientific breakthroughs or life-saving medicines or technological innovations if their inventors didn’t speak up and tell someone—maybe this notion doesn’t apply to everyone. Maybe some people don’t need the world to know about all their successes, their progress, and tiny triumphs that make their hearts beat faster. Maybe some people are content with their quiet wins or only comfortable sharing them with a select few who matter the most. Maybe some people are completely fulfilled knowing that the person they see in the mirror is their biggest cheerleader. Or maybe some people don’t even have anyone close to them, no one with whom they can even share these little victories.
While many times, I agree that those who make noise very often do have something to say that’s worth celebrating, I also believe those who are quiet deserve recognition as well.
Why do we seem to cheer the most for people who thump their chests in self-importance, the sounds of their own voices echoing in the ears of everyone they come across?
If there’s anyone that deserves applause or a tip of the hat, I think it might be the people with brilliant ideas and powerful words that stay hidden. The inspiring things that live in minds and hearts which may be too afraid or too anxious, not confident or not comfortable enough to release them from their cages and watch them sail off into the world. The ones that go unnoticed. Because I know there is so much more to discover than what we can lay our eyes on or what we can open our ears to—too many words yet to be written and thoughts to be turned into creations that can change our lives. And this is one clear reason the outspoken and the fearless ones, the ones unafraid of being heard, can help the ones who can’t—or choose not to—use their voices for whatever reason.
Sometimes the quiet ones need someone to help them along, to walk beside them and assure them that what they have to say truly matters, and the acknowledgment that there are people out there who are willing to listen. Sometimes the quiet ones need someone to help them with that first step, whether that’s handing them a loudspeaker or giving them a push into the spotlight or even helping them find a more suitable avenue to share their rich and unseen inner worlds.
Not everyone should have to be vocal to be heard. Some people use their pens and notebooks as their microphone and stage. And there are many ways to measure value as a person and uncover the gems that live within us all—those that give us each a spark of brilliance. Because we all have one.
But it’s something to remember: Being vocal and shouting their successes to the world may not be the best path for everyone to leave their footprints and make their presence known. And just because someone isn’t loud about their achievements, their strengths and talents, doesn’t mean they aren’t up to amazing things, nor does it decrease their worth as a person.
Sometimes there’s a different way to take pride in who you are and what you’ve done, and sometimes being quiet about it is okay. Or sometimes we just need a little bit more bravery or someone to be brave for us.
But when it comes down to it, it’s important to be true to who you are and what you stand for—to choose and be happy with whatever road you take to let the world know about you and your gifts.
Because we’ve all got something. Our individual strengths, our own spots chiseled out on the planet—spots that are you-shaped and can only be filled by you.
And if anyone says you need to make noise for someone to hear you or take notice, just remember that incredible things live in the quiet, too.
Because what really matters, what has always and only mattered, is not proving yourself to them, but to yourself.
And to all those with the quiet victories, I just want to say: You are seen and celebrated.