One of the most valuable personality traits is the ability to openly and truthfully express our feelings. How many times have you walked away from a situation thinking, ‘I wish that person knew how I really feel’? For some reason, it seems that when it really matters most, that’s when it’s the most difficult to express our true feelings. The stakes are higher so there’s a greater chance of being shot down, hurting someone’s feelings, or offending someone. But in the end, Nurse Bronnie Ware’s patients claim that what we lose out on by keeping quiet is far greater than the immediate consequence of expressing our true feelings.

Express Your Love Early and Often

Have you told your spouse, child, sibling, friend or parent ‘I love you’ lately? You assume that they know you love them because your actions demonstrate your love for them, but it never hurts to reinforce your actions with words. Or, is there someone in your life who has no idea you love them? Why is that? What is it that’s keeping you from expressing your love for them?

Stand Up For Yourself

Do you ever get the feeling you know what it must feel like to be a door mat? Time and time again you find yourself keeping your mouth shut because you’re afraid of offending someone or hurting their feelings, even if it means feeling badly about yourself. When something is really important to you, find the courage to speak up and express your true feelings. If you do it respectfully, chances are you won’t offend anybody, but rather you will be respected for your honesty and courage. You might think it’s just easier to handle the issue internally, but ultimately, being perpetually submissive will result in resentment and poor self-esteem.

It’s Never Too Late to Forgive

So many relationships are ruined due to conflicts that go unresolved because one or both parties are too stubborn to forgive. No matter how large the void between you and your estranged loved one, it’s not too late to mend your relationship. Often it’s as simple as picking up the phone and making the call. The relationships we build are priceless, and in the end, they mean much more than a technicality about who was right and who was wrong.

Not everyone has the natural ability to express their feelings. If you’re not the type to wear your heart on your sleeve, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to express your thoughts. There’s no reason to go through life keeping your feelings bottled up, only to regret not saving that relationship, strengthening a bond, or standing up for yourself.