I’m gonna start being more assertive – if that’s okay with you. When was the last time you told someone how you really feel? Would it be better for you to speak up or forever hold your peace? Perhaps you stay tight-lipped in order to avoid conflict. Is it safe to share? First and foremost, who is the listener? Sadly, not every family member or friend is able to listen kindly and non-judgmentally. Please do not express vulnerability with people who are repeatedly unsympathetic or insensitive to you.

How do you disclose your feelings? Are you aware of your tone of voice when you open up? Try to remain self-possessed and peaceful even if you are uptight or upset. Before you speak, are you crystal clear about what you wish to say and why?

Have you ever been in a mood when you have no idea what’s wrong, but you feel irritated by everyone and everything? If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done? What’s bugging or bothering you at this very minute? Perhaps there’s an emotion you’re trying to avoid. Get well soon. I heard you’re catching “feelings.” But truly, don’t spend your life putting on a front or going through the motions.

Find someone you trust and tell that person how you really feel in your bones. Do not stuff your emotions, please. Sometimes it seems easier to champion others than yourself. If you feel dishonored, degraded, or violated in any way, know your self-worth, and speak up for yourself. Your sympathetic nervous system may go into fight or flight, and you may wish to “flee” the conflict. You may have to risk not being accepted or approved of, but by all means stand up for yourself.

Many people are curious, but only about themselves. You may have been taunted or teased when you were younger while advocating for yourself. It’s all right if your opinion challenges or calls into question his view. She may get upset, annoyed, or even angered if you speak your piece. You do not always need to “fit in,” my friends.

It’s all right to feel anxious. You know what they say: “Folks with anxiety don’t have a train of thought. We have seven trains on four tracks that narrowly avoid each other when paths cross, and all the conductors are screaming.” I don’t struggle with anxiety. I’m actually pretty good at it.

But seriously, practice until you feel more comfortable and confident voicing your own slant and sentiment. Every butterfly just migrated to your stomach, or that lump just showed up in your throat. Don’t let that stop you. I speak my mind, because it hurts to bite my tongue.

Don’t want to challenge him? Say: “Oh really? I may have a question about that…” Calmly tell her that in your understanding, or from your perspective, you see things differently. Keep it short and sweet. Speaking of us short people, remember that we maintain a great perspective on life. Because we’re always looking up. Listen, you’ve really got to hand it to short people – because we usually can’t reach it anyway.

No need to justify or to over-explain your view. Keep it concise. Sure, when you try something new and different, you may get an emotional hangover. You may begin to doubt yourself or to feel too vulnerable. So long as you did not compromise your values, mission accomplished.

“I don’t care what you think, so long as it’s about me.” Uh-oh. It’s reasonable to say to someone: “Respectfully, I don’t agree with that.” Always remember whom you are dealing with. Can she remain rational? Can he even be reasoned with? He may get ruffled, but that’s okay. Communicate calmly, not emotionally, please. Don’t display anger or disrespect to each other. Do not become defensive and keep love in your heart.

If you are dealing with a narcissist, use caution. Everything you say can and will be used against you. How many narcissists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They don’t use light bulbs. They use gas lighting. He seemed to be on his own path. Unfortunately, there’s a “socio” in front of it. Yes, humor is still your best friend.

But sincerely, we all wish to be heard and understood. What is the most important thing you need to say today?

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.