What characterizes people who gain success? For sure they are not afraid to speak their mind openly without having to worry that someone gets uncomfortable in their company. I had a serious problem with that kind of attitude for years, I usually kept what I really thought about others or about issues touched upon during a given conversation for myself. It seemed to me that it wouldn’t be right to say this or that, as it would hurt someone or it would be just inappropriate. Unfortunately, many people around me didn’t share similar believes, they didn’t bother with the fact that their comments about me or other issues made me feel not so good. Such a connivance with no proper response or simple expressing my own opinion, made others usurp their right to criticize even the smallest actions which I decided to take. Of course, I always emphasize that constructive criticism may be beneficial for us, however seeing the difference between the right and the wrong criticism we receive from others needs lots of time and experience. What’s more, not learning how to do that calmly will have a negative impact on our self-esteem, self-confidence and consequently the position we take in the society.
As I’ve already mentioned before, lack of articulation of our thoughts and feelings makes it difficult for other people to know our needs, as no one will read our mind to get to know that we don’t like potatoes or pork chops. Of course, this example is a little bit trivial, however we can always translate it into more important things. For instance, I don’t like what you say about me, because it influences me – as an individual – negatively. ‘Your hair is awful. You could finally do something about that! I can’t believe that you are so lazy not to care about it!’ At that point I was just thinking, hello, honey, do you sometimes look in the mirror? I created scenes out of comedy movies inside my head, in which one woman grabs the other woman’s hair and keeps struggling fecklessly instead of dealing with the problem in a fast and possibly painless manner. As I’ve already said, all these images appeared only in my mind, whereas my reaction to such words was a pure lack of reaction, paving the comments over or showing apparent ignorance towards these unpleasant words. Such an attitude just encouraged the previously mentioned individual to make further and further comments, totally negative feedback, as if I was a complete failure in all aspects of my life. Nothing makes me more mad than using the tone of speech towards me during a conversation indicating that my interlocutor is the expert in all possible fields, unlike me. What gives other people the right to believe in something like that? Your lack of reaction! There are individuals who will treat their own complexes, sorrows and other problems they are currently struggling with – at your expense, because you lack guts to stand up to it! The hit of the season, which I had a chance to hear last year, was a question whether I first write my texts in English and then translate them with the use of Google translator into Polish. OK. That’s true that I’m not a professional writer or a journalist. I make mistakes. I just keep on learning and I think that I’ve made a significant progress when it comes to my writing. However, I found this statement to be really unfair towards me. Diminishing my skills to the level that boarders on zero. Fortunately, such a passive taking things on the chin, at least in my case – will slowly belong to the past.
What have I gained by expressing my opinions and believes at peace with myself and with what I really think? Seemingly it’s not a big deal, but in fact, it can really turn your life upside down. I don’t exaggerate! I would call it a snowball effect! I’ve suddenly noticed that people are truly interested in my opinions, they laugh at my jokes, and in consequence they are more eager to spend their time with me. They start perceiving me as a valuable individual, and last week my coworker came to a conclusion that I’m a really laid-back person – and everyone who knows me a little bit better would probably say that I’m a bundle of nerves. Does it mean that I create a false image of myself in the eyes of others? Does it mean that I want to deceive them? Not at all! The way we think of ourselves is frequently completely different from the way we are perceived by others. It happens that I sometimes say something awkward, most of the times it’s not done on purpose and with no malicious intent, but I usually say first and then think … this in turn creates an explosive mixture, all in all I have still something to work on. Most possibly some people on my way will take offense at me, because through all these years I’ve made them used to the fact they can ride roughshod over me and they will take my honest opinion as a sign of my rudeness … that’s tough, but there are always casualties in war! If you think that someone may have a negative influence on you – you should free yourself from such a person, as toxic individuals will bring no good into your life, just on the contrary. Remember also not to exaggerate with expressing your opinions, as the purpose of your honesty is not to harm all the people around you or to look down on them … I’m still learning how not to make such mistakes! All the people are great and valuable in a way, but they need to find other people who share a similar perception of the world, so that they can truly develop themselves and live their lives to the fullest. Be polite, but assertive! No matter whether you talk to your relatives, friends or to your boss … you must be honest with yourself and with others!
To sum up, if you want others to respect you and if you want them to take your needs into account, you need to say what you really think and you need to stay true to what you are. Nothing will confuse another person more that taking his or her criticism with a smile and with a thankful attitude if it’s only possible. Don’t let anyone convince yourself that you are worse, you are certainly not. You’re just different. Try to surround yourself with people who accept you as you are, and who make comments on you only because they truly care of your well-being. In this way you’ll become a better version of yourself! Remember, nobody knows you like you know yourself! No one else knows why you sometimes react towards certain issues in this and not in another way. Be yourself, do what you like and surround yourself with people who love you and respect you as a person – it will surely make you happier, and in consequence, people around you will also be happier thanks to you!
See you around!
Photos by Kinga Cichewicz, Aimee Vogelsang, Icons8 team, Chris Sabor, Helena Lopes, Vinicius Amano, Antonino Visalli on Unsplash
Comments: 34 replies added
This makes sense. It does one no good to not be honest with others
Couldn't agree more with you! :)
I often keep my opinion to myself, years of trying to "keep the peace". I can accept constructive criticism from most people but it seems that when my spouse does it my reaction is often unpredictable. I've bookmarked your post so that I can reread it, Just like medicine, as needed.
Of course, saying things costs nothing and is much easier than doing real things. I also don't always manage to say what I think or I have problems with accepting constructive criticism, but I'm working hard on improving it! :)
I have no problem saying what I think, but I've gotten in trouble multiple times for HOW I say it. This is good advice, but make sure it comes across as constructive and not just critical.
Exactly, being only critical is not the main aim of being honest. I also need to be more tactful at times. :)
Sometimes I have to be careful to be a little more tactful. But in general it pays to say what you think!
That's right, honesty should be respected! We all make mistakes at times! :)
This is so true! I have to admit I am definitely someone who most of the time tries to keep the peace but then sometimes I just blurt it out.
The worst idea is to keep everything inside for years, as at some point there's nothing what we could 'rescue' from a given friendship or relationship. :)
I am reading a book right now that has a whole chapter on saying what you really mean but being nice about it. It really made me think about the way I talk to people and how sometimes I don't want to do something but I do it anyway. I need to be more vocal with my true feelings and just be real with them. It's ok to say no to something and you can say no while still being nice. If they don't like it then its on them.
I think it's a topic which has become quite popular right now and there are lots of books to help us gain more balance in our lives. :)
I agree with voicing your opinion. But, I always remind my children, it is not what you say-but how you say it. Thanks for sharing!
Sure, one needs to be really tactful while expressing one's opinions. :)
It is so important to express the way that you feel about the key things in life being mindful that it does not interfere with relationships. In other words, sometimes asking yourself if expressing your opinion will cause an argument and if it would matter in 3 months to 10 years.
That's what I still need to learn ... estimating whether it's worth saying this or that to someone. :)
* It’s good to express your opinion. Although, sometimes tact and diplomacy are required so you have to moderate.
Of course, no one wants to hurt others on purpose. :)
It's so important to share how you feel in a respectful way.
Otherwise we make it difficult for others to understand us. :)
I'm baffled by how many people don't say what they think and get mad when others don't understand. We're taught to be people pleasers but we need to consider ourselves as well.
Pleasing people is something that is expected from us, and called being 'kind'. However, just like you've said we need to remember about ourselves, too! :)
I totally agree. It's hard to say what we think though... or at least for me it is. For my husband is so natural, he just says it... But I overthink stuff. I don't want to get anyone offended or for them to misunderstand what I'm saying, so I'm always trying to be careful or I keep it to myself. I guess that I need to open up more. Candace Hampton http://www.thebeautybea.com
It's difficult to say what you think and to satisfy everyone around ... I still learn how to say things properly. :)
You always want to express yourself to others. how else will they know what you're thinking?
Correct! We always need to remember about that! :)
Its good to always bee honest and express yourself, but you should always be mindful of how other people may react. Always try to be polite when delivering a message.
Great advice! I'll try to keep it in mind! :)
I think there's a huge difference between be honest and being rude. If it's not constructive it's not necessarily something to say. Otherwise honesty is something that deserves respect. It's really hard to get a thick enough skin to be okay with no everyone liking what you have to say.
It's not easy for sure, however as long as we try to follow our values and do right things it may pay off in many cases ... we just need to be polite and try not to hurt others. :)
This article really makes a lot of sense. I guess stating opinions and expressing yourself is got to be balanced. I suppose there's nothing that can feel you better than saying what you think.
Of course, we feel better if we say what we think! It's a skill which needs to be learned. :)
I agree speaking your true feelings is best for all involved. It's not easy though. For me personally, the struggle is in feeling I may be misunderstood. However, the more I "practice" communicating and speaking how I really feel, little by little it becomes easier. Still not there 100% but it is a goal of mine.
Oh, of course it has happened to me that I was misunderstood by someone, because I said something awkward, but being honest with others is a kind of process, which needs to be improved at times. :)