Thursday, September 12, 2013

Speaking My Mind

Frequently I've said that I admire when people can speak their mind. However, lately I am beginning to feel the opposite. To give you some context, my family isn't the kind that speaks our minds. Don't get me wrong, we're opinionated, stubborn, and often argumentative. But we rarely speak up when we feel someone is doing something wrong. This includes when someone is hurting our feelings, doing something that upsets us, or doing something that we fear might hurt them. We've often viewed this as a negative about our family. When something bothers us, we let it fester until it blows up. But then, we typically make up quickly and move on with our lives. I've often used my family's approach to problems as a contrast to those people that seem to be able to say whatever is on their mind whenever it comes to their mind. I've often looked at the way our family does things as somehow lesser. But lately, I've been thinking about how admirable it is when people can show restraint. Maybe it's because that's just my nature, but I'm starting to think that there are often times when it's better to remain quiet. It's okay to not point out every little flaw that someone has. It's okay to not give every piece of criticism we think might help someone. It's okay to sometimes assume that people are aware of their own shortcomings, are working on improving them, and don't need the input of others – particularly outsiders – reminding them of the very areas they're working so hard to improve. Life is hard. Why make it even harder for those around us, those we should care about? Maybe some of us should reserve speaking our minds for those moments when what's on our mind is how great someone is, how much we admire them, how much we appreciate them. And let them figure out the rest.