7 Reasons I Was Scared to Speak Up (and What I Did About It)

scared to speak up

People hear you on the level you speak to them from. Speak from your heart, and they will hear with theirs.

– Marianne Williamson

In all of us, there’s a voice yearning to be heard, a story waiting to be shared. But how often have we silenced ourselves, drowned by the weight of our fears and uncertainties? Being scared to speak up isn’t a mere phrase—it’s an emotion that has held many of us captive.

I’ve walked that journey, tiptoeing around my desires and suppressing my voice. Here, I delve into the reasons that kept me quiet and the steps I took to let my heart speak its truth.

The Importance of Voicing Our Truths

Over the past years, I’ve had to navigate a new life after hard breakups, difficult career transitions, and moving back home. I’ve had to face feelings that I’m not doing enough. That I am not enough.

I knew I owed it to myself to show up. I knew I owed it to myself to be present as I am. I knew I owed it to myself to finally come out from the back curtains and take center stage where my heart could shine.

I deserved to speak from my heart.

I deserved to voice my truth.

I deserved to be heard.

I deserved to own my story with the hardships, the successes, and the lessons to share the power of my voice.

I tried not to make my voice small when I wanted to speak so loudly that it hurt. It was hard.

I tried not to be unapologetic for taking the time to express what I feel to others when the person I should be accommodating to is myself first. It was challenging.

I tried not to bottle up my emotions because the longer I did, the longer it took to get past ignoring them. It was complicated.

After I finally had moments to pause and breathe, I gently reminded myself again and again that I was enough. That I deserved to speak from the heart and to be heard. I was just too scared to.

Why I Was Scared to Speak Up

As I reflect on my journey, I have identified seven reasons that made me scared to speak up, and I will share the steps I took to navigate through this self-imposed silence and let my voice be heard, loud and clear.

1. I let other people’s feelings matter more than mine.

I held back words because I was afraid they would hurt others. But in the process, I ended up hurting myself.

I needed to understand I don’t have control of other’s reactions. I have the right to feel what I do and they have the right to feel what they do.

2. I hadn’t learned to effectively say no to requests that don’t align with my long-term priorities.

I needed to understand by saying no, I protected time like it’s the most valuable commodity in the world. Because it is. I had to be clear on my intentions and allow in what is in service to them.

3. I didn’t think my opinion mattered (that much anyway).

I needed to realize I possess valuable thoughts and opinions that would add a new perspective to any conversation. Whether it was a conversation with friends or in a meeting, I knew my thoughts mattered. My thoughts deserve to hold their space and their voice to be heard.

4. I was scared to share something personal because it’s letting my heart truly be seen and judged.

I know we all have mistakes and flaws we may not be proud of. And truthfully are scared to share with others.

I learned that the power of being vulnerable is it builds bridges that strongly connect us to others (more than just on a surface level). Vulnerability opens up human experiences that others can relate to. By finally being more vulnerable, I began to spark conversations that moved me beyond a place of fear to a place of shared human experiences.

5. I was anxious to be proud of my achievements and be my own cheerleader.

I needed to learn to be excited for myself. I’ve done the hard work and I can be proud to share the accolades that come with it with others that have supported me. By sharing what I’ve accomplished, I feel I inspire others in ways that I may not realize. I’m nurturing the positive energy that may kick-start someone else in a direction that brings more light into their lives.

6. I was afraid of creating conflict.

I like the status quo and don’t like to rock the boat. I was hesitant to express thoughts that might anger, frustrate, or annoy another.

I’ve come to realize that a certain amount of conflict is healthy. Tension is necessary to hold things tighter together.

7. My heart didn’t know what it wanted or what made it happy.

I was unsure of life’s direction for the longest time. When my mind was in a place of uncertainty, it was hard for my heart to speak from a place of truth.

I took the time to reflect and discover what kind of life would bring me more purpose and fulfillment. Once I did, my heart discovered a strong and passionate voice to speak from.

Being scared to speak up is a journey many of us traverse. Recognizing the reasons and actively working towards finding our voice is the way forward.

Can you remember a time when you were scared to speak up? How did you feel and what did you do about it?

2 thoughts on “7 Reasons I Was Scared to Speak Up (and What I Did About It)”

  1. I relate to your story so well and can remember many times when I didn’t speak up. It’s still scary but I do it anyway because staying quiet feels so much worse. It’s soul-crushing to care so much what people think and leave yourself in the dust.

    1. Thanks Laura for your comments. It’s definitely hard to let other people’s opinions be stronger than our own. Developing our voice takes strength, courage, and honestly a lot of time. I see each interaction as an opportunity. Sometimes we do well and sometimes we do not. That’s the reality. As we continually learn and grow, we also need to be kind to ourselves in the process.

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