Say These Things Out Loud, No Matter How Uncomfortable They Make You

Say These Things Out Loud, No Matter How Uncomfortable They Make You

I’m 30 years old and still learning that some things just have to be said. Will they make others uncomfortable? Yes. Will they create tension? It’s possible. But setting healthy boundaries matters, standing by your word means something, and it’s never wrong to speak up for what’s right. Here are some things you’re too old to not say out loud.

1. “I’m sorry.”

You’ll never be so old that you know everything, New Science points out. You’ll make mistakes, intentional or not, and the high price of human frailty is that we often hurt others in our blunders. No matter your age or offense, it’s always appropriate to swallow your pride, look the person you hurt in the eyes, and say, “I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?”

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2. “It’s okay.”

Just as it’s mature to apologize, it’s mature to accept another person’s apology. This doesn’t mean you become a doormat, allowing others to say “I’m sorry” as a gateway to continue using or abusing you. However, if someone is truly sorry for hurting your feelings or wronging you, forgive them. Believe it or not, letting go of the offense and forgiving them does your soul more good than the person who wronged you.

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3. “I need a minute to cool down.”

In the heat of a tense moment, it’s easy to let anger take over—not only is it easy, but it feels good. It boosts our ego but squelches our empathy. With maturity comes the realization that this anger, no matter how good it feels, only produces crummy results. It tears down friendships, hurts hearts, and damages our reputation. By now, you’re too old not to pause a heated conversation, say, “I need a minute to cool down,” and walk away. This lets the anger simmer and your faculties gather before you speak again.

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4. “That’s not appropriate for my child.”

Motherhood can be incredibly isolating, and perhaps fatherhood can feel the same. It’s easy to grasp for friendship and adult conversation wherever, however, you can. But if an adult crosses boundaries with your child, whether that’s allowing them to watch television shows you don’t approve of or giving them snacks and candy you don’t allow for health concerns, you’re allowed to be the voice for your little one. “That’s not appropriate for my child” is a reasonable response for the mama bear protecting her cubs.

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5. “We can talk about this later, but not right now.”

There are times when a conversation needs to be had a little later. Perhaps a child misbehaved at a social gathering, but the consequences should be addressed on the car ride home. Maybe you and your spouse had a disagreement right before walking into a work party, but the issues should be healthily laid out once the party’s over. This doesn’t mean conversations should be ignored or swept under the rug, but there’s a right time to have a conversation, especially a more heated, tense one, and there are times when you should pause and pick it up later.

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6. “No.”

If you’re a people-pleaser or someone who doesn’t like conflict, it’s hard to say, “No.” You’d rather have people like you than create boundaries for yourself, and while this seems easier upfront, don’t believe the hype. When you can’t tell people, “No, I can’t do that. I already have too much on my plate,” or “No, I’m not doing that. I don’t think it’s right,” you end up exhausted, second-guessing yourself, and silently wishing you’d taken the two seconds required to simply say, “No.” It’s not just important, it’s incredibly powerful, Psychology Today notes.

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7. “Here’s why I deserve a pay raise.”

If you’ve spent years at a company and have the stats, emails, and portfolio of accomplishments to confirm your hard work, you have the space to ask for a raise. In the corporate world, it’s easy for the big-wigs and folks at the top to not realize how little their employees are paid. You’ve worked your tail off for years, so you deserve to defend your right to afford a comfortable life for you and your family.

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8. “That’s not right.”

There’s injustice everywhere. People have perfected doing anything and everything to elevate themselves, regardless of the price others must pay. (The longer you live, the more easily you bear witness to this sad reality.) It’s not only appropriate but necessary to speak up when someone is being mistreated, abused, or taken advantage of.

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9. “I need to rest.”

Rest is vital to productivity. On the surface, this doesn’t make much sense, but the more we take proper care of ourselves, the more we can show up for what matters most. If you want to be mentally strong for your kids, you need to put away the briefcase and take a few moments to go for a walk, read a book, or garden—anything to bring peace and clarity to your mind and soul. If you want to see your grandchildren graduate high school, you want to take care of your body now, keeping disease and sickness at bay for as long as possible.

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10. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

There are few things as mature and wise as simply saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” You can pretend like you’ve done a certain thing one hundred times, but people will eventually figure out your lie. Save yourself the embarrassment and fess up beforehand when you don’t know what you’re doing.

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11. “I need help.”

If you don’t know what you’re doing, you need help—whether you admit it or not. Asking for help is a sign of humility; it’s an active way of saying that you trust someone else to show you the right way to do something. The older I get, the more I’ve realized that it saves me time, frustration, and often money to ask others for their insight. No one is a know-it-all, so there’s no need to pretend.

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12. “I’ll stick with the Golden Rule.”

Christianity holds to a simple but powerful one-liner: treat people how you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Whether you’re religious or not, there’s no denying the importance of such wisdom. Treating others as you want to be treated is a two-fold blessing. You extend your utmost kindness and grace to people, while showcasing the way you expect others to love and respect you. It’s establishing that everyone, yourself included, deserves to be treated with dignity.

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13. “I’ll finish cleaning up.”

woman cleaning up after lazy husband

Once you’re old enough to understand just how annoying the mundane clean-up chores can be, take the extra fifteen minutes to help another mom out. If she invited you over for dinner and cooked a fantastic meal, offer to wash the dishes. If your dad took the time to make a handcrafted toy box for your kiddo, offer to sweep up the extra wood shavings in the garage. Go the extra mile for people who have gone the extra mile for you.

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14. “I’ll take the lead.”

It takes true wisdom to know when to lead and when to follow. But when you know you have the bandwidth, resources, and experience to lead a group, whether at work, at home, or in your community, step up. Be the person others can count on.

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15. “I’m in no rush.”

Now, this isn’t a blanket statement to excuse consistent, unprofessional tardiness. However, the older I get, the more I feel the need to simply pause and slow things down. Sometimes it means ignoring a phone call if I’m swinging on the porch with my son. Other times, it means telling my husband a house project can wait because family time means more than upgrading the baseboards. There’s beauty in the slower rhythms of life; it’s a lesson we can and should embody.

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Peyton Garland is a boy mama and Tennessee farmer who loves sharing her heart on OCD, postpartum life, and hope in the messy places.