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My whole life others would speak for me, so now I never know what to say when others ask for my thoughts. How can I learn to express myself?

10 Answers
Last Updated: 03/17/2021 at 3:53am
1 Tip to Feel Better
India
Moderated by

Smita Joshi, BA Psychology / MA / Advanced EFT Practitioner

Counselor

I am empathetic with my Clients going through emotional overwhelm and passionate in helping them. I am supportive, openminded & interactive in helping my clients.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
December 8th, 2020 5:29pm
Hello! I can relate to this quite a bit my parents have always told me my opinions weren't important and i should sit aside. My ex best friends always ignored the way i felt to suit their needs. However I recently moved to a different area with lots of great people and they are constantly asking me to speak up and it hurts because i don't know how to. This was back in January. Now although i'm not heaps better I am definitely trying. Here are some things to keep in mind - It is without a doubt going to be embarrassing. You will feel embarrassed about expressing yourself even though there's absolutely nothing wrong with it because you are conditioned to feel so. It's okay you will be embarrassed then what? nothing. Speak up. People will disagree with you and that will you force you back into your shell. Do not let them. Your opinions are valid, let yourself be heard you deserve it. If you're too scared to say it write it down and try to bring it up with them later. Do what you think is best for you and whatever ensures you are safe! Good luck!! You're doing amazing and im so proud of you :)
MidwesternCalmSeeker
December 31st, 2020 2:32am
The first thing that came to my mind as I read this question was, "Dance like nobody is watching." I wonder if the same is true about self-expression. Express yourself like nobody is judging. Making changes to the way you express yourself will likely be a gradual process. Consider sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member, and then as time goes on, you can practice new-found skills with others, such as co-workers or acquaintances. You may be surprised at the outcome. It may start out as a "fake it until you make it" type of exercise, but with practice you'll gain confidence. Reach out to a listener and reflect on recent situations where you didn't feel comfortable. Sometimes reflecting on a specific event will help you to understand it and either feel better about the outcome or think of ways to adjust as you move forward. The most important thing to remember is that you deserve to be heard and your thoughts do matter!
Sunisshiningandsoareyou
February 1st, 2021 7:11pm
Hey there , so glad you are reaching out for support . it's so hard to form our opinions and shape our own thoughts, when we've been in an environment which does't allow us to be expressive freely . it will take some time to be comfortable but it will be worth it , try reminding yourself that you are your own individual person with your own needs, wants and desires , your experiences and thoughts are of your own and these are what shape our opinions . Next time someone asks you what do you think of something , remind yourself that you're allowed to express what you feel , and then share your opinions , some may agree some may disagree...when people disagreee , they try to shut us off, don't let them..ask them what makes them disagree, learn about their perspective and let them know , differences of opinions are all fine, yall may not agree but can respect each other's individual thoughhts and approaches in life. be yourself , try and be amongst people who a have the ability to listen and acknowledge everyone's thoughts , instead of shutting them off. you will be great in no time...slow steps each day
Petrichor2000
March 17th, 2021 3:53am
Well I can relate to it personally. This is what I do. I be myself. If your mind is clouded and can't think clearly, tell them about it. Don't hold anything inside. Be naked. Be yourself. To be honest, even by asking this question, you are expressing yourself so please don't be scared. You are already halfway there. So yeah the next time you meet someone and they ask for your thoughts be yourself. Say you can't think of anything clearly and will tell them about it later or just think about it. And sometimes it may happen that you really can't think of anything. I guess. That's your case. In that situation. Imagine what any other person would have said for you in that place. And just say it. I believe in you You can.🤗
insightfulSunshine9378
February 15th, 2021 7:35am
I've experienced this. Something that helps me is considering what I think about every little thing in my spare time. What do I really think about this news event? The concept of self esteem? The institution of marriage? The way math is taught in schools? The different ways people speak to one another. What especially helps me is asking myself, "what is my own personal definition of ____?" What is my best guess why x person thinks this? That way, I'm not just sampling ideas from other people or giving vague answers, and especially because it lets me get a better sense of myself and the world around me.
RedEmerald
February 17th, 2021 10:41am
I can relate to this but in a slightly different way, i was told by several close to me that my voice was not valid and I was told I could not do anything right. It lead to a silencing of my voice and no idea what I want because that was never even a question. Often choosing a question/topic and writing out whatever comes to mind on paper for 5-15 mins.can help. You might see several things repeated and those are a starting point of opinions. It won't come natural, so you have to harnest it in an unnatural way. Many times, we may not have strong opinions on things too, and that's okay.
KimYes
February 23rd, 2021 9:34am
There are several ways I can suggest for one to develop his own perspective. I will share one or two. Firstly, those who would like to learn on an introspective level might consider a book-literature guide pack. As the book is read, one can answer the critical thinking parts of the guide. The guide might ask for the reader's opinion on how a situation should or should have been handled. For example, Anne Shirley in "Anne of Green Gables" smacked a tablet onto Gilbert Blythe's head after he had compared her hair color and braids to that of carrots. A critical question might ask "How do you feel about Anne's reaction? If you were her, how would you have handled Gilbert's teasing? Explain." Secondly, if you would prefer an oral critical thinking discussion, you could join a book club or a personally interesting activity that you could form an opinion on. For instance, one might ask a friend how a restaurant experience was. One might base his opinion on the food quality, customer service, lighting, décor, etc. I agree with the December 8th, 2020 post. Even once you know better what to say, you might very well feel embarrassed or uncomfortable if the listeners disagree. It is okay. If you're asked a similar question sometime, you might have a different way of expressing yourself or draw a different reaction depending on the audience.
Westbury
February 24th, 2021 4:25am
Hey there. I hope you are well and keeping safe. One of the basic needs as a human is being heard, so I can see it must be difficult when other people are speaking for you and they are not allowing you to express yourself. We want friends/family and others to listen fully in order to understand our feelings and opinions. We have to educate people on how to treat us. Perhaps a friend and/or family member doesn’t realize that talking over someone else is a bad thing. Maybe they grew up in a family where everyone interrupted each other and they think this is "normal behavior". First, start small. Some things to say to stop their interruptions: “You’re talking over me” “Please listen to what I am trying to say” “Please hear what I am telling you” Your friend may respond, “I know what you’re going to say, that’s why I interrupt”. If that’s the case, ask them to please reserve judgment and really listen. Tell them that while they think they’ve heard it all, you don’t feel heard, and you’d like to be able to explain yourself without them interrupting you Many people are worried about having their own views challenged, however, needs must. Attacking them verbally in retaliation isn’t helpful to the current problem either, so ensure that you ensure you are ferm, polite but also give examples of when they cut you off and how it made you feel. The individual in question may not (or may have) have any idea why you’re upset, so if they ask, tell them calmly why. Do not use this moment to unleash your hurt feelings or anger on them, but tell them kindly that this issue is important to you and you simply wanted to be heard.
Anonymous
March 6th, 2021 10:32pm
I understand how you may be feeling. Whether it's because you feel like you have to rely on others or others feel obliged to speak for you, it can make you lose a sense of who you are and what you want. I want to tell you that this is fine. As we grow, our wants and opinions are constantly changing. Even though right now you may not have a concrete thought or opinion on a certain thing doesn't mean you never will. It may just be a matter that deep down you aren't particularly interested in what someone may be asking you. That is also totally fine. It's also completely fine to be honest about the subject and say you don't have any idea. It can make you more approachable and perhaps you could confer with the person about their opinions and base yours on what you learn. Simply telling what's on your heart can be enough sometimes, and enough of a challenge. It's a first step to forming your opinion and shaping your perspective of the world. So the first step to expressing yourself, would to be truthful. What is it you really want from this conversation, this opportunity, this event? It's completely fine if you aren't sure of what you want yet. It takes time to discover these things. I hope this was somewhat helpful.
Peacemakerperi
March 8th, 2021 4:17pm
So my suggestion may seem a little awkward but it will help you. Well first as you said all your life others have spoken for you and now you seem to be very lost about your true self identity because now it's all other people opinions that has became your convictions and you have nothing of yourself left. It can be hard and scary to take steps to better this situation but for sure in the end you'll be loving it bcause you will finally meet your true amazing self that was hiding behind the curtain of other people words. So my suggestion for you is to first make a list of things/contexts/social convictions/etc you want to talk your thoughts about. I'm gonna give you some examples : Gen-Z trends, feminism, an indoor decoration picture from pintrest, etc. After figuring out that list sit down in (or stand up😅) in front of a mirror and talk about your opinion on those things. You can record your voice if you want or if you don't like talking to yourself in the mirror you can also tame a notebook and write down your words. Your choice. But do this as a challenge for 30 days. Discuss one topic with yourself everyday and see its results. I hope it helps you.☺💕