Telling people what you really think is hard. As children, we’re raised to be people pleasers who speak politely to spare other's feelings. More often than not, it’s easier to stay silent than pipe up about something, especially if you’re shy to begin with.
I still, to this day, haven’t mustered up the courage to tell my stepdad (or should I say ex stepdad) Henry, what I really think of him. For years after my mum and him split up we remained close friends. We’d meet up often, have intimate conversations and just generally be there for each other. Now, I don’t hear from him at all. It’s not like I’ve done anything wrong; he’s just moved on with his life and forgotten me. I’m desperate to pick up the phone and tell him how let down I feel by his non-communication, but would rather avoid the confrontation. If only I could just say it.
Speaking your mind takes courage. When done tactfully, it shows honesty and encourages others to take you more seriously.
So, with that said, here are eight reasons to speak your mind...
You’ll avoid regretting stuff
Remember that special someone you fancied at uni but never had the guts to approach? Or how disappointed with yourself you were for not seeking a work promotion? Not speaking out can eat you up inside and lead to a lifetime of regrets. Don’t be one of those people who regrets things they don’t say.
It stops people taking advantage of you
If you come across as too nice or agreeable, then people may exploit you. Picture the scene: you’re at work, and getting ready to leave for the day. Next minute, your boss comes over and asks you to stay longer, knowing full well you have plans. What do you tell them? Sure - no worries? Or, are you firm about it and say no? Speaking up allows you to manage other's expectations more realistically, rather than be taken for granted.
It reduces stress
When words are left unsaid, it can lead to anxiety. It makes you overanalyse situations and replay scenarios in your head to the point of exhaustion. Some, resort to having conversations with themselves in the shower, or arguing it out with their reflection in front of the mirror. If only you’d just said what you wanted in the moment, rather than let it build up inside you.
It encourages other people to do the same
Ever opened up to a close friend about something important, only to have them hit you back with something similar? By divulging your innermost thoughts and feelings, you may encourage others to follow suit. If the situation demands it, be vocal. You never know, your openness may start a chain reaction.
It’s a great confidence booster
Speaking up lets you hear thoughts aloud and the impact they have on others. It shows people you have a voice, are not afraid to use it, and can defend your own corner, given the opportunity. It may win you brownie points at work, or help you succeed in another areas where quietness could let you down. Increased confidence ultimately means greater health and happiness. And surely that’s what everyone wants out of life?
It promotes awareness
Speaking up builds knowledge and understanding. It allows you to bring new ideas to the table, and educate others in the right way. Let’s say you’re chewing over a complex subject with friends and someone says something ignorant. Wouldn’t it be better to inform their understanding, rather than them repeat their opinions elsewhere. In doing so, you’ll improve not only your own awareness, but their's too.
It helps relationships
Successful relationships are built on a foundation of openness and honesty. As a couple, you should be able to speak freely together, and that means arguing, pouring out your emotions, and being accountable to each other.
It helps you get what you want in life
The best way to get what you want in life is to be direct; not pushy, or aggressive, but exact. If you need something from someone, be straight with them: “Please can I grab you for an hour to help me with something?” If you beat around the bush