“Pick a number between one and twenty-five. Wrong. Let’s try again. What’s my favorite color? Or my favorite food?” As crazy as this sounds, we bury our thoughts and then expect others to know what we’re thinking. Are you a mind reader?
Why does this happen? Some folks have trouble expressing their thoughts and feelings because they’re shy or they fear a negative reaction or they’re afraid, after having been burned in the past. Others assume that if they voice their demands or concerns, they’ll sound ungrateful or needy.
The fact is, just because thoughts may be swirling around in your head doesn’t mean that others know what you’re thinking. You can’t get upset that people don’t understand your needs and desires if you don’t voice them. While they can guess and look for signals, they’re not mind readers. People can’t hear what you don’t say. Thinking isn’t communicating.
Why Are You Keeping It a Secret?
Don’t assume people can read your mind. If it’s important to you, say something. You’re not going to make things better by keeping it to yourself; chances are you may make things worse.
People like to feel appreciated; say something. If you take people for granted, you’ll both live to regret it.
- If an employee’s doing an outstanding job, let them know.
- If someone goes out of their way for you, say “thank you.”
Don’t let misunderstandings fester; say something. Problems don’t get better with age. Address them in a proactive way.
- If you think the relationship is one-sided, let them know.
- If your friend just let you down, tell them.
- If you don’t understand why you were passed up for the promotion, ask why.
Don’t let annoyances get bottled up inside you; say something. The alternative is letting them build into anger and resentment.
- If the people behind you are being obnoxious, say something.
- If your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) habit is getting under your skin, speak up.
- If someone continuously requests favors but volunteers little in return, tell them.
If your needs aren’t being met, say something. People can’t make things better if they’re unaware of your feelings.
- If you think your company isn’t recognizing your contribution, let your manager know.
- If you want greater commitment in your relationship, discuss it.
- If you want more quality time together, say something.
Don’t say you care, and think you’re done; say something. It won’t kill you to repeat your message.
- If you love her, let her know how you feel, again.
- If you’re proud of your kids, tell them, again.
What’s On Your Mind?
Many problems arise, misunderstandings occur, and feelings are hurt simply because words are left unsaid. Do you internalize your feelings or express them? Do you voice your grievances or let them fester? Do you express your love and gratitude or assume it’s understood? Do you voice your needs or hope others magically recognize them? The truth is, you can’t read their minds, and they can’t read yours.
Real communication requires more than small talk. It’s important to build trusting relationships in which you share your thoughts and feelings in an open and honest manner. Stop talking to yourself and speak your mind. It’ll enhance your relationships and save you a lot of heartache in the long run. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.” What’s on your mind?
I’m Not a Mind Reader. Are You?
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