Afraid to speak up for yourself? Me too. Here’s the secret to doing it anyway.

Have you ever felt utterly incapable of speaking your truth in a moment of confrontation or conflict? Have you ever felt as if the barrier were practically physical — that no force on earth could wrench those difficult words from your heart to mouth?

As a recovering people-pleaser, I know better than most the earth-shattering fear of speaking up. I have a distinct memory of being in my nightgown as a child, debating whether to go downstairs and risk disappointing my parents by telling them I couldn’t sleep. I tiptoed back and forth across my bedroom carpet in the dark, biting my tiny fingernails and debating my options.

As I got older, the fear of speaking up became a cage that kept me small.Unspoken truths piled up inside of me, voltage without an outlet, and my body responded accordingly. My legs grew restless. My anxiety worsened. I ground my teeth for hours each night and woke with blazing migraines.

Worse than my physical symptoms were my bitter frustrations. I wanted nothing more than to be a self-assured woman who advocated for herself as fearlessly as she advocated for others. My fear both baffled and enraged me.

Back then, I thought I was alone in my struggle to speak my truth — but I wasn’t. Back then, I felt like I was in a constant battle with my truth — but I wasn’t.

My truth was fighting to be spoken, and I — my truest, innermost self — was fighting to speak it. We were on the same team, fighting against my fear.

I’ve come to learn that speaking my truth is the simplest way of living in this complex world. Deceit, performances, lies, and half-truths do not occur naturally. They require great expenditures of energy to stay alive. Truth, on the other hand, requires no maintenance. It is already alive, electric, vibrant, right now.

My truth had been fighting to be spoken for years. One day, I decided I wasn’t going to stand in its way any longer. I’ve been practicing speaking difficult truths ever since — (keyword: practicing) — and every time, it goes something like this. Read the full article here.