closeup of an old typewriter and the text speak your mind typewritten with it in a foil, with a vignette added

Having the confidence to speak regularly in class can be difficult for many people. For those who are more extraverted, this may be a relatively simple task that involves close to no effort. For those who may be more introverted, it can be very nerve-wracking, and they may end up shying away from asking questions.

Having trouble with speaking your mind can spread into common areas such as casual conversation with friends, family, and members of your community. Whether the root of this nervous feeling is a lack of confidence, general introversion, social anxiety, or a combination of any other related causes, it can still take a negative effect upon one’s social experience, job performance, and/or grades in school.

Speaking up in class is a great way to enhance your learning experience, improve your grades, connect with classmates and form a relationship with your teacher/professor. Answering a simple question in class or giving an opinion relevant to the material being discussed is a great way to get your foot in the door and take the first step towards being comfortable with voicing your thoughts.

While having a conversation with your peers, it is vital to understand that your thoughts and opinions matter just as much as theirs, and speaking up for what you believe in is essential to having self-respect. Sharing opinions will also earn you respect from your peers, as they will be able to see that you are solid within yourself and stand strong with your ideas or morals.

Not being afraid of what you think and feel is very important to solidifying your own sense of identity, whereas hushing your opinions and feelings in fear of what others may think of you is detrimental to your self-esteem, because it may make you feel as if your thoughts are lesser than others’ — which is never the case.

It is very important to remember that your thoughts, feelings, and opinions matter just as much as anyone else’s. Internalizing this belief is the first step to having the confidence, which is is the basis for speaking your mind. If you lack confidence, you may come off as unsure or unsteady in your opinion, or you may end up not speaking up at all out of fear or uncertainty. Speaking up and speaking out often is a great step towards establishing a solid sense of confidence and self-esteem, and is key to establishing important connections with your peers, teachers and coworkers.