Why do we say what we think?
It seems to be the fashion nowadays for young people to be “authentic” or “real,” saying what they think, regardless of their impact on others.
The justification for this is that “it’s better than talking behind someone’s back.”
Why does it need to be said at all?
Many of us know that we make decisions based upon our emotions and how “it” (whatever “it” is) feels.
We do things that feel good even though we know they’re wrong and then try to justify “it” later with the rational, thinking part of our brain.
If you’re interested in how we make decisions read Daniel Kahneman’s international bestseller: Thinking, Fast and Slow.
Put others first
The trick here is empathy!
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes before you go ahead and blurt something out that may be harmful, both emotionally and mentally.
The vast majority of people we talk to about mental health on our podcast recognise that most mental health issues are a result of social problems – being banished from your tribe, not fitting in, worrying about what people think, etc. – rather than a physical cognitive impairment.
Now I know not everyone is perfect and it is difficult to bite your lip at times, especially if you’re engulfed in certain social circles.
For example, “Being real” is promoted in young, female, celebrity-influenced culture.
There’s a lyric in the charts right now that goes: “I always say what I’m feeling / I was born without a zip on my mouth.” (Brownie points for those who can name the song in the comments below!)
“Authenticity” they call it! “Being real” they call it!
These words are merely justifications for people feeding their ego by undermining the status of others (and therefore raising their own).
In comparison, how would a man/woman be considered if they were to act upon their primal instincts and have sex with every person he/she felt sexually attracted to?
How would a heart surgeon be viewed if he/she felt like taking a rest part way through an operation?
How would a member of the Royal Guard be scrutinised if he/she gun butted a pedestrian that kept trying to take his/her hat?
These are all extreme examples of times when individuals have an emotional urge to do something that they know is wrong; however, they don’t do it because they care for others, they know the difference between right and wrong and they are professional in their job and approach to life; characteristics that are not specifically applauded in modern media.
Be the best “you”
Let’s be clear, I’m not championing lying and I’m not advising you to withhold your opinions because, clearly, I wouldn’t be writing this if I was.
What I’m saying is be free, be yourself, express your thoughts and feelings but do it in a way that will benefit the world and those around you, not cause harm.
We can all be better people if we learn to think before we speak and see the world from the eyes of others and maybe, just maybe, this will have a positive impact on the mental health of society!
A wise man once told me “if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all!”