It is extremely important to speak your mind. I have always admired/feared friends of mine who cut straight to the punch. Friends who say what they want to say and don't beat around the bush.
I chose the GIF above from an HBO show you probably haven't heard of (I joke) called Game of Thrones. The character above's name is Ygritte, and she is in love with Jon Snow even though she knows she shouldn't be. She tells him "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
Now Ygritte, maybe you could inform Jon Snow what he doesn't know. You are being a little cryptic. More on this later.
The importance of speaking your mind cannot be emphasized enough. When you don't speak your mind, you are left with a million unanswered questions. You left with the "what ifs." When you don't say what you want to say, when you don't ask, when you don't put yourself out there, you will never know what the answer might have been.
Last year, #YOLO (you only live once) and #noregretz (no regrets) were very popular phrases. Although they are no longer in vogue, there is something to take away from these seemingly meaningless hashtags. You only live one life. Try to live that one life with no regrets.
For the most part, I feel like I do live a life with no regrets. I put myself out there. I try to not be afraid of the inevitable no. Every year as I grow more comfortable in my own skin, I feel like I am able to speak my mind more freely and confidently.
When I don't speak my mind, I feel anxious and to be frank, full of regret. Yes, there are situations where it's probably best to shut your mouth and keep your opinions to yourself, but there are also many situations where we keep quiet in order to save ourselves some pain or heartbreak, some uncomfortable social anxiety, some awkward rejection. I think these are the kinds of situations where we need to be open and honest.
When adults or college students utter the phrase, "that's so high school," they often insinuate a lack of maturity on the part of high school students. I think a lot of the "that's so high school" situations come from people playing games, not being honest and open, and not handling situations with maturity and even handedness (even though frankly, I think people of all ages struggle with these actions).
The drama and lack of maturity that is (fairly or unfairly) associated with high school students in my opinion comes from people being afraid to speak up and be honest. Resentment, frustration, and unhappiness often stem from a lack of communication or a miscommunication. If people, and in particular young people, decided not to focus on what could happen or the worst case scenario but instead focused on engaging meaningfully and respectfully with the people around them (us), then I know a lot of pain and hurt could be avoided.
Why do we avoid saying that someone disappointed or hurt us? We do we avoid saying our hearts are broken or our egos bruised? Why aren't we a little more straightforward with our insecurities or what we are going through? There is no shame in having feelings and expressing them. It's extremely liberating.
Going back to Ygritte and the GIF above, Ygritte has deep, real feelings for Jon Snow, and yet, she is afraid to tell him how she truly feels. Ygritte is instead left feelng resentful, angry, and betrayed because she never voiced her love. Ygritte is left with the "what ifs" and the confusion that stems from not speaking her mind.
While Ygritte has the difficult task of laying her heart on the line, and Jon Snow has the difficult job of either accepting her heart and validating her feelings or betraying her love and trust and letting her down, most communications are not so black and white. Often times there is more ambiguity in the communication and the response. Even though we try to be honest about our feelings, things get lost in translation. We would be super human if we could always accurately communicate our needs. People mess up, and that's okay. I think the most important part of speaking your mind is just trying to do so. Having the courage to try is all you can really ask for.
Similarly to Ygritte and Jon Snow but in a less passionate, violent, forbidden romance kind of way, sharing something uncomfortable or inconvenient with a friend or person you care about is also very scary. But conflicts, drama, and emotion almost always escalate or get worse when we keep how we feel deep inside instead of sharing our feelings with a friend or the person who is causing all of these strong feelings in the first place.
In order to be able to speak my mind, I have had to change my mindset. I feel comfortable talking with 99% of people. I noticed rather recently that I was afraid to talk to 1% of people because I was "self-focusing." I was worried about how I might be perceived. I was worried about how I could be rejected. I was focusing on me instead of the person that I wanted to talk to.
It's much easier to speak your mind and set yourself free when you honor your needs yes, but it also really helps to think about other people and what they need and what they are going through.
When you talk to someone, it's not all about you. It's also about your "audience" aka the person you are speaking with. How can you also best help the person you are speaking with feel comfortable and secure? When you help the person you are speaking with feel comfortable, then you in turn will most likely feel more comfortable and less awkward saying what you need to say. I hope that makes some sort of sense.
My point is that communication is a two way street. In order to be able to feel comfortable saying what you need to say, it helps to make the person you are speaking with feel comfortable too. People aren't often receptive to verbal attacks or screaming matches. People are receptive to respect and honesty.
My second point is instead of being cryptic, instead of feeling the need to hide what we want from people or how we feel about people, it's better and easier to be honest about our feelings and needs. Sometimes it might be disappointing and hurtful for a few days, but in the long run, we will save ourselves a ton of drama and further pain. We will stop being "so high school" and instead handle our feelings in a productive, constructive, adult way.
Yes, Jon Snow may know nothing, Ygritte. But he will know something if you tell him what he doesn't know! People aren't mind readers. If you want something to change, it's better to communicate that need instead of waiting for someone to maybe or maybe not figure out what you are looking for.
Cryptic only gets you so far. I won't give away the fate of Ygritte and Jon Snow, but I will say this: try not to move forward with regrets, what ifs, or what could have beens. Life is short. Life is precious. You don't want to look back on a moment in time wishing you would have just said what you wanted to say.