Throughout my life, I’ve been criticized for how I approach nearly every human interaction. I don’t hold back, and I don’t hide what I want.

“Play hard to get.”
“Stay mysterious.”
“Never be the one who cares more.”

These are some of the most toxic ways you can approach an interpersonal situation, in my humble, non-professional opinion. Mind games rarely lead to healthy situations, and yet nearly everyone I’ve ever come across is well-trained in the art of not speaking directly.

Do you want to know what following these mantras gets you? Regret, indecision, uncertainty. Do you want to know what being direct, sensitive, and yet bold and wearing your heart on your sleeve gets you? Experience, knowledge, thicker skin.

I am proud to care. I want to shout it from the rooftops that my whole life has been wanting to love people and be loved. There is so much love in my heart and in my life that I want to share it with everyone I come across: from family members to the elderly man who needs assistance at the corner store.

Growing up, my own mother thought that I kissed and hugged too much. In my adult life, it caused her worry that I was going to get hurt because I just want love. Her fears came true on  more than one occasion. My personality has brought about so much pain. I have cried so much, had my heart broken so many times, and have been emotionally exhausted on more than four dozen occasions.

What makes it worth it? The fact that I was young when I realized what I want.

It has been my experience that wearing your heart on your sleeve allows one to learn about people faster, make quicker decisions, and get closer to finding that perfect relationship. Those who choose the games and the sidestepping communication wind up wasting time in double talk and doomed situations.

This is by no means an easy way of life. As I said, there is so much pain associated with letting everyone know how you feel at every given moment. But you cannot discount the experiences of those who continue to live in this manner. They are not naive. They are not inexperienced. Some people grow out of it, but for many, this is a way of life. I am such a person.

Try it out with your next interaction. Don’t hold back when it comes to telling someone how much they mean to you, if you want to hang out, how deeply you love. Give it a chance, and even though it couldn’t end negatively, at least you know.