Here’s a thought that’s been eating at me for a while: when it comes to speaking your mind, is it better to censor yourself or to just spew without a filter?
One of my most inconvenient flaws is that I hardly have control of my face when I feel something. Not my face, or my mouth, really. It’s not like I’m brutal. I’m not brutal. But I mean, if someone behind me says something unbelievably stupid, my face betrays me. The eyes roll and the mouth falls open. I scramble the muscles in my face quickly to rearrange them into an acceptably polite expression, but the initial reaction is inevitable.
So lack of self-control case study number one:
Last week I told a bad joke to a friend. I thought it’d be funny, but I apparently misread my audience. Immediately I wished I could suck back my words. the silence that greeted them made my error even more glaringly obvious. Even though my friend assured me that it was okay, I still feel embarrassed a week later. It should have been a no-brainer to avoid. Any stupid person off the street could have pointed that out. So why did I feel the need to go there? I thought the funniest people were those who pushed it just a little further than comfort would allow, who are able to bluntly say what everyone is thinking but is too afraid to say themselves. Are they? Because what I said definitely wasn’t funny.
This seems to happen to me a lot. And not just with jokes. Very regularly I think to myself and remember all the stupid, embarrassing things that I’ve said, and I cringe. They’re unnecessary observations that offer no unique insight or humor at all. Why do I feel the need to just talk? I can only hope that no one remembers little things like these. And realistically they probably don’t. But I still worry sometimes. Because I remember the embarrassing things other people say and do. (It makes me feel better about myself.) I hope no one gets any ideas from this to start hoarding others’ embarrassing moments for the sake of your own sad self-esteem. We can’t afford to have more Alexes in the world spamming up good clean thinking space.
Basically, I’m wondering if it’s worth it to fret about these things? And also, if I’m in a situation where it doesn’t matter either way if I say it or not, should I allow my face and words to betray me the way they do? Or should I just get that under control?
On one hand, I think of course you should censor yourself; you don’t need to necessarily restrict the words you say, but at least think through what you’re saying and how it might be recieved by the person you’re speaking to. But on the other hand, I feel like there’s at least a tiny raw and honest quality that’s missing in a lot of people, especially in the lovely, polite south. Why not be a little different? Why not let people know exactly where they stand and how you feel?
When I was younger my dad would often tell me to always say what you’re going to say in your mind before you say it out loud. I guess I had a problem even back then.
So I should probably get it under control.