When I'm struggling, or I feel like I'm not where I want to be in my life, the last thing I want to do is tell people about it. It seems easier to just wait it out; when things are back to normal, it's easier to talk about the struggle with a little perspective. Broadcasting struggle as it's happening feels scary, and vulnerable, and exposed.
Before I published a blog post about my financial struggles during my first year in business, I was scared out of my mind. "I can't share this," I thought, "people will think I'm a failure." Finances are the area that I feel the most shame, so the thought of sharing my money struggles felt so counterintuitive.
Because that's what shame does. It holds us hostage, saying, "If you talk about this thing, bad stuff will happen." Shame wants us to stay quiet about the things that scare us. Shame thinks it's protecting us, but in reality, it's creating more shame... And ultimately, keeping us stuck.
The best way to get unstuck and step into your powerful authenticity is to free yourself from shame by giving voice to the very thing you think you could never talk about.
What's the thing you're telling yourself you could never talk about? What are you afraid to admit publicly?
How great would it feel to finally put down the heavy burden of this secret? How awesome would it be if you spoke your truth, and it empowered someone else to speak theirs? How freaking cool would it be if by allowing yourself to be you, everyone around you made more room for their authentic selves as well?
Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes. Because you deserve better than to be held hostage by your shame. We all deserve better than to walk through life, covered in shame. Because when we choose courage over shame and fear, we choose liberation.
That's why I chose to write about my money struggles, even though I was anxious with fear. And that's why I published a follow-up article on Goalcast. Speaking my truth on a large scale helped me shed the heavy blanket of shame, because it made me realize I wasn't alone. That article has been shared over 2,000 times. The thing I thought I could never speak publicly about resonated with that many people, and liberated me from my shame and isolation.
Here's how to own your truth, even when it's scary:
- Write about the thing you're afraid to talk about. Journal about it. Let out all of your fears and shame around it.
- Make art about the struggle; draw what it feels like to lift the heavy blanket of shame.
- Tell people! Write a post on social media, guest post on a blog, talk to your friends and family about it. Your vulnerability will inspire more people than you can imagine.
Just because you're afraid to speak up, doesn't mean what you have to say isn't worth saying. Fear is a good indicator of growth, so if you're feeling afraid, own it and speak your truth anyway - because courage isn't the absence of fear, it's acting despite being afraid.
Interested in writing for The Growth Studio? Submit your personal stories (600 - 1000 words) of creative ways through change to firstname.lastname@example.org.