Getting the confidence to open up

How asking for help changed everything

Getting the confidence to open up

Growing up in our household, I was the only girl amongst three boys, my voice never felt loud enough. On top of this, I helped my mom take care of my grandparents. I wasn't really happy as I had so much to do and not enough time for myself but I didn't want to disappoint my family. Any spare moment I had, I’d read my eldest brother’s books and escape through the lives of the different characters.

Things came to a head when my English Teacher started a Book Club at school. I knew it’d be something I’d love, getting the chance to read even more but I was scared to ask for the free time to attend. I started getting frustrated with myself as I didn’t want to feel like this my whole life. However scary, I knew I should try and speak up.

I thought the best way to be able to talk to my parents was to have someone who could give me courage and advice. My eldest brother is the one I’m closest to in my family. We talk about the books he lends me and joke about stories we’d like to write one day. I decided to confide in him about wanting to have more free time. He gave me some advice that I will always remember:

  1. Prepare what you want to say beforehand and lay out your examples that support your argument.
  2. Pick a time and a place where everyone is calm and happy. Talking in a rush makes it hard to have a proper conversation.
  3. Know that my happiness is in my hands. However hard it can be to speak up, it’s important to express myself.
  4. Having him as my ally meant that I wasn’t going alone.

His talk really helped. When my mom got back from work, I sat her down and let her know my feelings. She said she didn’t realise I felt overwhelmed and was sad I hadn’t felt I could share my feelings sooner. We agreed that it was OK for me to go to book club so long as I promised to be more open with her in future. I am so glad my brother encouraged me as I now feel more able to open up in the future.

Has someone encourage you to open up? Tell us in the comment section.