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?