"When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." — Malala Yousafzai
It doesn't seem like it should be so hard to share your truth. After all, it's your truth—what else are you going to share? Sadly, many of us have been warned against showing up exactly as we are and sharing our voice with the world. We have been taught to hide, to conform, to give others what we think they want.
But luckily, the tide is changing. Our society is beginning to crave raw authenticity and individuality. And vulnerability and honest, powerful leadership are finally getting some measure of the attention and praise they deserve.
So, if you've been running scared, how can you start stepping up, showing up, and sharing your truth? Here are five ways you can play big and take back the power in your life starting today:
1. Tune into yourself.
Before you can share your truth, you have to get really clear on what it is. We are bombarded with messages every day, and it can often be hard to know what actually feels right and true for us. Regularly tuning into yourself and your own intuition—whether it be through meditation or journaling or paying attention to a gut feeling—is an important practice if you want to be able to communicate authentically with other people.
2. Start slow.
You don't have to start speaking up everywhere right away. In fact, if you're not used to speaking your mind or sharing your message, it can be helpful to go slower. Tune into yourself, explore your voice, and find communities where you can safely share without becoming overwhelmed by external reactions and feedback. As powerful as sharing your truth is, it is also scary and overwhelming. But as you become aligned with your truth and accustomed to sharing it, you'll likely find that you will naturally share it wherever you go.
3. Set powerful boundaries.
A huge part of sharing your truth is learning how to lovingly communicate your boundaries—with your partner, with your friends, with your coworkers or clients, and so on. It's a powerful exercise but one that so few have practiced because it can seem scary and confrontational. But by being brave enough to honestly communicate with the people in our lives, we give ourselves permission to speak up for what we want and strengthen our relationships, too.
4. Ask for what you want.
You don't get what you don't ask for. Whether you put a request out to the universe, your partner, or your boss, it's important to be conscious about what you want (and what you don't), and communicate that with power and grace. Again, the first step is to become really attuned to yourself—understanding what it is that you want in your relationships, in your work, in your life—and then practice communicating that to whoever needs to hear it.
5. Use your voice.
Now that you're starting to feel more comfortable sharing your truth, ask yourself how you can continue to use your voice for good. What positive message can you spread, what group can you speak up for, what positive change can you enact by speaking up? Our voices are powerful, and once you've done the work of aligning with your truths and getting comfortable sharing them with the world, you can use your power to help other people, too.
Danielle Dowling, Psy.D. is a doctor of psychology and life coach, helping ambitious, driven women achieve the financial, spiritual, and lifestyle abundance they desire and deserve. She holds a bachelor's in business from American University, and her master's and doctor of psychology degree from Ryokan College.
Dowling has spent years helping people live richer, more joyful lives, and she has seen firsthand the nearly magical pairing of psychology and life coaching. Hands down, it’s the best way to bring people into their happiest selves.