Why is it so hard to step into our own power? Why do so many of us have such a hard time claiming our talents and shouting them from the rooftops? We have no problem tooting our loved ones’ horns, yet when it comes to tooting our own, we suddenly become mute.

On what page in the “How to be human” manual does it mention that we need to play small, minimize our accomplishments, cover up our talents, and always be our own biggest critic? I can’t remember reading that part, can you? But we must have read it – we must have studied it and taken really good notes – we must have internalized it. We must have believed it was true because “playing small” is so many of our default settings. I definitely would receive an A+ in this if there were a test or a grade.

Here are two events that happened recently that made me realize that I had a hard time tooting my own horn:

Me, the writer?
I recently sold all of my office furniture as part of my great leap of faith toward writing full time rather than creating products. When the man who bought everything came over to pick it up, he asked why I was getting rid of it all. I told him that I was a writer, and that I didn’t need this large, heavy furniture to do that. His eyes lit up, and he looked around and said, “Wow, this is a really nice house. And you pay for this through your writing?” And, as I stumbled upon my words and got a bit flustered, I looked down and said, “No – not yet. But that’s the plan. I paid for all of this with my gift business,” and immediately deflated that proud look of hope in both of our eyes. And he went about moving the desks. And then I thought about it. I don’t know what came over me in that moment, but I immediately reverted back in time to a year ago when I wasn’t yet making a living with my writing. Now, however I am. This is what I do – I write. And I get paid for it. That’s my sole source of income. And while it’s not as much as I would like yet, it’s enough to live on. And that should have me standing tall and proud. I should be shouting it from the rooftops. But instead, I’m deflating it and minimizing it.

Me, the artist?
I was on a call yesterday with someone that I’m collaborating on an ebook with. She asked if I could do the artwork for it. She asked if I was an artist. I said yes, but then I immediately began to question whether I really was. I have a dear friend who is a world-class painter (I really think he will be known as the best of our generation.), and I can’t even begin to paint like him. So am I still an artist? I immediately began to backtrack with her and say that my style might not be what she’s looking for – it might be an acquired taste – maybe we shouldn’t even look at it. Thankfully, just as I was about to hang up in shame, my horn-tooting husband, Dan, was also on the line, and he stepped in and gave the website where my work could be seen. She happened to love it and said it was just what she had been looking for. She was thrilled! And I was so relieved. But then I wondered what it was going to take for me to step into and claim my talents. I have made a living off of my creative designs for eight years. And to still feel awkward about calling it art or sharing it with a client surprised me.

I have a feeling that you can relate to these examples, too. I know that there has been a moment in your life where you had the chance to toot your own horn and step into your power, and you instead chose to deflect the praise and minimize your talents. And I bet in that moment, you felt pretty low and probably beat yourself up afterward. Most likely you played the conversation in your mind again and again thinking of all of the things you wished you had said.

Your soul wants so badly for you to honor your gifts. And what I love about this life is that we get a million chances to change our patterns. At any moment, we can decide to live differently. Isn’t that great?

So, if you’re ready to create a new pattern where you are proud to show off your gifts – not in a conceited way, but in a loving, honor yourself kind of way – then here are some actions that I’m going to apply in my own life and welcome you to do the same:

Be aware.
Change can only take place when we are aware of what we want to change, right? I’m sure I’ve deflected my own gifts for many years without even realizing it. It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve begun to notice when I do this. So this is definitely the first step for all of us – recognize when were are minimizing our talents.

Be willing to receive.
When someone looks at us with admiration and pride, receive it. Say thank you. Think about how you feel when you give someone a compliment and they immediately deflect it or put themselves down or praise you instead. It sort of creates an awkward moment, and you both end up feeling kind of crappy, right? Remember that. Take the compliment. Honor the person who is saying it. Honor yourself for being the person that someone says it to.

Be willing to love yourself.
That’s what this all comes down to, after all: a lack of self love. If we felt truly great in our own shoes, we wouldn’t be afraid to tell everyone about our gifts. We wouldn’t want to cower and hide. We wouldn’t want to play small. So changing this pattern begins with loving ourselves. It starts with patting ourselves on the back when we do something great. It also starts with going easy on ourselves if we aren’t living up to our vision or our standard or where we thought we “should” be right now. No more shoulds, please. They never help anyway.

If we could all take these three actions, our world would change drastically. We would begin to honor each gift that we bring to the world. We would begin to walk with a little more spring in our step. We would begin to believe someone when they told us that we were wonderful. And that would be a great thing.

So…would you be willing to step into your power and toot your own horn? Would you be willing to shout your gifts and talents and accomplishments (however big or small) from the rooftops (or at least here on my blog)? I urge you to do so by commenting on my blog, Soul Speak. I urge you to stop playing small. Our gifts were meant to be shared with others. Isn’t it time we all did exactly that?

Author's Bio: 

Jodi Chapman is the author of the inspirational blog, Soul Speak; the upcoming book, Coming Back to Life: How an Unlikely Friend Helped Me Reclaim My True Spirit; and the bestselling Soulful Journals series, co-authored with her amazing husband, Dan Teck.