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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bucknell chapter.

I love listening to podcasts. No matter what the genre—whether it be self help, news and current events, or educational—there’s something about gaining insight into another person’s mind that strikes me as particularly fascinating. I tend to listen in the most unconventional places while I’m completing another task, like the gym or in the shower. In any case, about a week ago, I tuned into one of the newest episodes of Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes podcast, and while midway through my 12 3 30 workout on the treadmill, I had an epiphany of sorts.

Chamberlain, who began her career on YouTube in 2017, is considered to be one of most well-known influencers of Gen Z, but more recently, her brand has evolved into other areas like entrepreneurship, business, and media such as her podcast. Essentially, in sharing personal anecdotes and meaningful advice through Anything Goes, she serves as the voice of young people all across the globe who are dealing with similar issues and seeking out a relatable personality online.

Nevertheless, I came to a certain realization as I listened to her discuss confidence in an episode titled, “Standing Up For Yourself,” that I’ve spent most of my life living in the shadows of my own desires, too afraid to make room for myself and what I want. Instead, I’ve given away too much of time and energy to others without any regard to my own well-being and happiness. If you are anything like me and are looking for a way to finally take matters into your own hands and live a life that you feel in control of, here are a few ways to find your voice and stop being a pushover.

Acknowledging Your Own Passivity

For me, the first challenge I faced when tackling the topic of being a people pleaser

was understanding that a lot of my own struggles with not being assertive stem from myself. As someone who is naturally more introverted, I sometimes find it difficult to verbalize how I’m feeling to others; consequently, my lack of communication doesn’t allow other people the chance to know what’s on my mind and I ultimately end up in the same situation every time where I feel misunderstood without knowing why. This is where the most important change must occur. Instead of repeating the same patterns day in and day out by refraining from expressing yourself and then not understanding why others don’t recognize your thoughts, it’s critical to realize you are your own best asset to changing this situation. While it’s not an easy process, the first and most meaningful step to finding your voice is to recognize the role you play in your path to personal growth.

Slowly Open Up and Go out of Your Comfort Zone

After first acknowledging my own passivity, the next step I took toward emotional healing was gradually opening up to close friends and loved ones. For the first time in my life, I found myself sticking up for my own desires by having an uncomfortable conversation about what was going on in my mind and how I felt being too compliant affected my relationship with the people I care about. By reaching out and opening up to others about your own inner struggles with confidence, it becomes easier to get clear about your own desires and how they differ from those around you.

Learn How to Set Boundaries

Once others are made aware of your personal struggle with assertiveness, it’s time to figure out what type of behavior you can and cannot tolerate. If living most of my life as a pushover has taught me anything, I’ve come to learn that people will walk all over you unless you make it obvious what your own boundaries are. Again, it’s easier said than done, as people who are pushovers tend to avoid conflict and confrontation, but standing firm in your own desires can open a new door you never thought possible.

In the end, the entirety of life itself is all one long learning process, and that being said, one is bound to run into bumps along the way. All that matters is having the desire to make a change no matter how long it takes to get to the final destination.

Hannah is a junior from Westbrook, Connecticut and a sociology and philosophy double major with a minor in dance. When not busy with academics, Hannah enjoys music, theatre, reading, and iced coffee.