Then there are others who constantly ask what it is I am thinking or feeling only to protest and launch into criticism if I come up with something they don't like.
Both these things are indicative of the human condition. A vital step forward toward being confident, self assured and in control is to recognize and take ownership of what is ours to think, feel and believe regardless of how others may view us. In essence it is to assert those things as belonging to us but without imposing, expecting or demanding that anyone else should think, feel or believe the same.
By so doing we become independent and claim our identity for exactly what it is, a unique collection of those experiences that define who we really are.
It requires a courage of conviction to stand by everything we express for the moment of that expression. It doesn't mean we can not change our minds for, as we go through life many things can play a part in altering, developing, influencing and shaping our characters. That includes honing our what becomes our ethical values.
Recently I felt hauled over the coals for expressing my feelings and impressions over some new people who have just entered my life. "A lot of preconceived ideas you've got there." was the comment. Absolutely, but I own that I have them because all people do. I think it impossible to avoid accumulating preconceptions no matter how much we may try to to avoid being judgmental. Experiences teach us what we like and dislike; what to trust or mistrust, what is good for us and what is potentially harmful.
Nor can we avoid making those judgments on what our instincts and feelings are telling us. What we can do and, I think it right to do, is take note of those feelings, then take a step back from them to check if they are logical, with or without foundation or 'fair'. What we can not ever hope to do successfully is change what we think and feel, believe or our behaviour to suit others. Already my feelings have changed as I learn more about my these new people, so much so that it's caused me to stop and register what it is I am thinking as well as feeling. I often think feelings come first and thoughts after but to stop register what exactly it is that I am thinking, in my opinion, is a sign that feelings are strong enough to merit a little time spent in that process.
All feelings are transient unless we feed them. To love or hate another requires us to devote time and energy to build upon a simple like or dislike. A maxim I picked up early on in counselling was "we dislike in others what we dislike about ourselves." I dislike others being judgmental of me, even though I am equally judgmental of them as meeting these new people has reminded me.
I am not an inwardly confident person despite, in some circumstances appearing to be outwardly. Too many years of trying to be what others have wanted of me instead of listening to what I have felt was right for me has contributed to that. However, in recent years I have begun to listen and begun to accept that I too have a right to express who I am even at the risk of displaying my frailties, shortcomings and faults. Be I right or wrong about any and all (people and events) I meet or encounter.
I have learnt too that I am a person who is never so rigid and inflexible as to not consider that there can be, and often are, different ways of seeing and interpreting the world around us. Some perspectives may seem more right than others, but the truth is all perspectives are equally valid. 'Equally' is a harder concept to grasp that it might at first appear as, equally means accepting that someone who holds the exact opposite view to yourself is entitled to do so. And they are entitled precisely because of their unique set of experiences and their responses to those experiences.
Concepts of ethically 'right' or morally 'wrong' only start to come into play when we look at what social and cultural code of conduct is acceptable within the wider community in which we live.
An essential ingredient toward being happy is learning to happy in our own skins. Happy with whatever feelings, thoughts, beliefs, opinions and behaviours we collect, shape and claim as our own.