Dear Dr. Laura,
I am 53-years-old and I wouldn't trade what I now know for being young again. There are many areas in which I have gained expertise through life experience, but the one thing I wish I could have been in my younger days was more assertive.
I wish I would have opened my mouth more to say what I was really feeling. The reason I didn't was because I didn't want to seem like a whiner or a complainer. A simple example of this: driving in someone's car with the air conditioning blowing arctic air at me. I'd be shivering, but when asked if I was comfortable - I would reply with a smile and a head nod. Or when offered something to eat or drink, I could have been dying of starvation or thirst, but I would have said, "No, thank you." Those are silly examples, but truthfully, there have been so many times, I have always regretted not being able to tell the truth.
I finally realized I have not been true to myself. That I have suffered unnecessarily for the sake of being "polite." I guess this dawned on me when I had children and I coached them to advocate for themselves - of course, in a diplomatic, respectful way. I have learned from my own teachings and now have no problem speaking to people honestly. Whether it's a coworker who is pushy and bossy, or a rude person in line at a store, I have learned the lesson that being honest and forthright is good for communication and leaves speculation out of the human equation. I have heard you say so many times over the years that we need to have conversations with people. We are not mind readers.
Thank you for all of your sage advice. You have been my guiding light.
Danielle (a listener for over 20 years)