“I feel really bad about what they said to me, but I haven’t told them as I don’t want them to get angry”, “I can’t tell my partner that I want to break up because I don’t want to hurt them”. How many times have you stopped yourself from saying what you really feel? You keep quiet for fear of the reaction of others and because you’re afraid of showing what you feel, However, in the end, you’re the one who ends up feeling bad.
Other people can’t guess what you’re feeling. Therefore, if you don’t say what you think or what you feel, you’ll suffer. On the other hand, saying what you feel, giving your opinions and ideas, and sometimes saying no, will make you feel liberated and in control of your life. Being assertive means asserting yourself.
“Always tell what you feel. Do what you think.”
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez-
Reasons for saying what you feel
It’s true that saying what you think may sometimes cause you fear and anxiety. However, not saying what you think or feel can negatively affect your relationships with other people. Therefore, here are five reasons for saying what you really feel.
You’ll feel liberated
When you express your opinions or feelings with respect, love, and affection, and you let out what worries you or bothers you, you’ll feel deeply liberated. That’s because not expressing your emotions is a burden, and one you have to carry around with you every day. Furthermore, it harms your relationships with others without you even realizing it.
You’ll feel closer to the other person
When there are no longer any barriers between you because you’ve expressed everything you wanted to say, a closeness is created. It’s an intimacy in which your trust is reinforced and your relationship improves. That’s because you already know how the other person feels and how you feel and that makes you feel calm and at peace.
You’ll stop hiding
If you hide what you think, you’re actually hiding yourself. In fact, you create an unseen wall around you and no one can see how you really are. However, by expressing your feelings, with words, looks, hugs, and kisses, you feel more alive. This is you. You’re no longer hiding behind what you’re not saying, and you allow yourself to enjoy your feelings.
On the other hand, if you don’t show yourself as you really are, others will develop wrong ideas about you. What they’ll see is just an image. They won’t see you as you really are. Therefore, they won’t be able to really appreciate you.
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”
You’ll improve your communication
When you learn to say no, to say what you feel, your communication with others goes to another plane where everything is transparent and there’s nothing to hide. A plane on which you’ll feel much more comfortable. Because you’ll no longer be afraid to express what your mind and body want.
You’ll achieve coherence
If you don’t say what you feel, you create inconsistency between what you really are and what you’re showing about yourself. However, when you learn to speak and to verbalize what worries you, you achieve coherence between your interior and your exterior.
How to say what you feel
To say what you feel, you simply have to learn to be assertive. Assertiveness is used to express to other people what your true desires are and what you need, thus demonstrating dignity and self-confidence. In 2008, the psychologist María Luisa Naranjo wrote about the concept of assertiveness in respect of the many definitions that different scholars have provided. She wrote that, among these, assertiveness has been described as “the appropriate expression of emotions in relationships, without causing anxiety or aggressiveness” (Güell and Muñóz, 2000) or “the expression of our feelings in a sincere, open and spontaneous way, without hurting the sensitivity of the other person” (Melgosa, 1995).
Here are some tips for being assertive.
Change your negative thoughts for positive ones
Sometimes, you have a tendency to tell yourself extremely negative things, such as “I can’t”, “I’m not capable”, “What will others think of me if I say what I want? Will they be angry with me?”. All these thoughts affect what you feel and build a barrier between you and others. A barrier of unspoken words and unexpressed feelings.
Try to change all those negative thoughts for more positive phrases. For instance, “I’m going to try. It doesn’t matter if I don’t succeed, at least I’ll have learned!” or “I’m going to say what I think respectfully but I’ll still be true to myself!”
Other people can’t read your mind
Sometimes, you get angry. However, you might claim that there’s nothing wrong with you. Nevertheless, the more you hold it in, the worse it’ll be. Remember that others don’t have the ability to read your thoughts or to guess what you feel. You need to verbalize your thoughts so that they know what’s happening to you.
Moreover, on many occasions, you may feel discomfort and anger toward others because they’re not able to guess what’s happening to you. This occurs especially in couples. Phrases are used like “You know me well enough to know what’s happening to me.” It also occurs between parents and children and between friends. However, it’s important to know that no matter how well they know you, they won’t always know what’s happening to you. Therefore, before you get angry and expect them to guess, it’s far healthier to be open and tell them.
Remember your goal
When you intend to say what you feel, don’t change direction. Remember why you want to do it, don’t back down, and keep telling yourself that it’ll make you feel better. In addition, in most cases, what you fear doesn’t even happen. Indeed, so many times you find yourself worrying needlessly.
As a matter of fact, you often tend to negatively anticipate how the other person is going to react to you. Then, when you finally decide to speak, the opposite happens. It’s important not to anticipate negative events so as not to frustrate your objective. Nevertheless, you must communicate with understanding and respect.
Be clear in what you express
To communicate properly, you must be clear in what you say. Don’t complicate matters by changing direction. Start with what’s important and say it clearly. Use the words that accurately describe what you want to achieve and your interlocutors will thank you. It’s best to use direct language that doesn’t give rise to any misinterpretations. Indeed, many people, out of fear or insecurity, try to address the issue indirectly before ‘getting to the point’. However, the best thing is to be sincere, clear, and direct. If any doubts remain, resolve them.
“You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes.”
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