You’ve seen this woman – she is hard to miss. She commands the room with elegance, a warm laugh, and a natural gravity.

She speaks clearly and articulately, and it almost feels like the air stands still to take her in.

Even when faced with a challenging situation, she doesn’t flinch. She pauses, considers her audience, and then speaks with grace.

She confidently shares her thoughts in a way that remains true to her, while also gaining respect from others. People listen to her and follow.

Is this you?

If not, there’s no need to worry. If you’ve ever struggled with speaking up in a difficult conversation or situation, only to feel regretful and resentful later, you’re not alone.

So many of us struggle with confidently expressing themselves in a way that elicits acceptance from others. For good reason – many of us grew up with direct and indirect lessons to conform.

Whether it was to honor our parents’ expectations, to keep conversations polite in social settings, or to be accepted by a crowd, we may have made ourselves small in order to fit in.

There’s certainly value to conformity in the world – if we all agree to follow street signs, it will keep us all safe while driving. When it comes to our relationships however, those who love us generally want authenticity – they want to know us as who we fully are, our true selves.

In order to do so, we need to know ourselves well enough to share it, and we need to know how to share it honestly from our hearts, without judgment.

When we’re afraid of being judged, we hold back on being authentic. If we’re playing a part, acting in ways that feel expected of us, we’re not honoring our true selves. That is seeking validation from the outside, and it will never give the feeling of assuredness. Resentment can appear and show up through frustration, outbursts, and other reactive ways.

Instead, how do you hold yourself honestly, in a way that is acceptable and meaningful? How do you express yourself in an open and confident way that feels strong, empowered, and welcomed by others?

First, like with most things, everything starts with you. Get curious – what are you feeling, where is it coming from, and what can you learn from this? This is how you develop your own self-approval for happiness and success.

Then, communicate those thoughts and feelings in a way that builds connection and trust with others.

Be relatable. Think about your thoughts and feelings in a universal way – how does what you’re thinking or feeling relate on a larger scale? When what you say is relatable and honest, it allows you to discuss things objectively – and it includes others.

Listen with the intention to learn and love. Ask questions, and take their answers in. When we let go of our own expectations and judgment, we answer in the moment – and even funny, unexpected responses are authentic.

Let go of the outcome. Sometimes we say or do things to get a certain reaction or action out of others. In reality, the only thing we can control in life is our own actions and responses.

Be vulnerable. Share your personal stories. Realize, at a deep level, that experiences matter. Your stories matter. Experiences are what have shaped us, that have made us who we are. All of our miracles, our healed places, our sad, scary, and beautifully human moments have value.

When we share our stories, we process them ourselves. We hold them and learn from them. We become clearer about what we have gone through, what matters to us, and what makes us who we are today.

And, once you can relate in beautifully vulnerable way, you can be fearless.

Confidence is learned. The better you know yourself, the better you can trust your ability. Confidence is created like happiness; by surrounding yourself with optimism and positivity and making choices that feel good to you.

And, the only person you really have to impress is yourself.

(Want more of this? Our Goddess Guide goes into other ways of showing up confidently. Check it out here.)