Too often I am meeting people left and right who express that they don't feel like they speak their mind in fear of others' feelings. However, they don't realize how much it affects them inside when they are constantly holding all of their thoughts or feelings inside.

Well, guess what, I used to be one of those people.

I found myself staying quiet often. I found myself going with the flow. I found myself accepting anything anyone did to me. I found myself forgiving easily in fear of others getting angry (even if they were in the wrong). I found myself allowing the world around me to rule my life.

I wasn't speaking my mind. I wasn't sharing my thoughts or feelings. I wasn't choosing which restaurant I really wanted to go to. I wasn't sticking to the morals I wanted to. All of these things became apparent. I wasn't using my voice. I wasn't expressing what I wanted, I was focused on pleasing everyone else around me.

If you do not find your voice, you will live a very unhappy life. You will wake up at 50 and wonder why you allowed the world to take over your voice. Every individual in this world has their own voice, and that is the beauty of being a human being in America.

Why have a voice if you don't want to use it?

Next time you are with your friends, speak your mind. Offer advice to a friend or even share a personal story. Give feedback for a restaurant your friend wanted to try and be honest, even if their opinion differs. If you aren't comfortable with something, speak up!

When you think about it, we are faced with choices and decisions each and every day. If you spend 24/7 listening to others and never speaking out, you will eventually destroy yourself.

Keeping emotions, thoughts, or feelings inside is not helping you or others. It is detracting the "real" you that is inside. When people are too passive, they begin to live their lives through others. They do not face their problems head-on. They do not face their challenges each day. They do not face their voice inside their head. And honestly, they don't gain anything out of it.

Now that I have a voice, my life has changed for the better.

I stand up for who I am. I am not afraid to speak my mind. I am not afraid to give my opinion. I am not afraid of telling someone what they have done wrong. I am not afraid to use my voice. And I feel that this is one of the most important things in life.

Speak up. You have a voice for a reason.