The Art of not Speaking One’s Mind

From the time we could form opinions, many of us have found ourselves silenced before our thoughts could cement themselves. I know what I want to do. I know where I want to eat. I know where I want to go, but I worry so much about the opinions of my companions that I am willing to shut my own needs off to satisfy their wants. Why? Why do I hold myself back to enable their greed, or selfishness, or even simply to indulge their whims whilst leaving mine on a shelf to gather dust?

Maybe it has something to do with not wanting my companions to resent me if they miss out on something that they desire? Maybe it has something to do with me not wanting to make a decision that will leave someone lacking in their needs, or wants being fulfilled? Maybe I prioritize other people’s happiness, and satisfaction above, and beyond my own? Most likely “all of the above,” but WHY? Why do I do this? I am not alone in my confusion; I see many of my female friends suffering from the same indecision when groups of people are involved. Interesting how my male friends tend to be more assertive in their decision making ability, even if it means that other’s needs, or wants are sacrificed to meet their own.

That’s not to say that my male friends are selfish, or greedy; I’m simply expressing that they tend to take charge and just say “This is what I want to do, or eat, or whatever,” while my female friends and I tend to sit and ponder how everyone will be accommodated, even if we aren’t.

Maybe I’m a doormat. Maybe I’m selfless, but in my own way selfish for want of being liked, and seen as flexible. I do have preferences, I simply, well, quite complicatedly really, choose to keep them to myself because I’m so afraid of offending anyone. Why don’t I matter to myself in terms of being offended? Why don’t I care about my needs, wants, or thoughts?

How many meals do I suffer though at restaurants where the food is subpar just to make others happy? How often do I let someone else choose the music because I can’t find my own voice? How often do I allow other people’s judgement to blur my own choices? The answer to those questions is: Far too often, sometimes to the point that I forget what I actually want, or need.

Perhaps the real question should be “How do I overcome this inability to speak my mind when I truly do have an opinion, or desires?”. How can I learn to be strong in mind, words, and actions while still projecting the empathy, and compassion that I have for my entourage? Do I fear conflict? Do I fear reactions? I guess it’s time for some major soul searching, and emotional mining to help extract my true personality, and stop being silent when I really wish to speak up.


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