C.S. Lewis said, “I have learned now that those who speak about ones miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
It is not easy to share our feelings and speak our truth. It can be terrifying. But what do we lose when we don’t express what is in our heart? We lose the opportunity to be truly intimate with others. We lose the ability to be our authentic selves. We lose the chance of a fulfilling life.
If speaking your truth leads to personal freedom, deep relationships, and a fulfilling life, why aren’t we all doing it? Because it is HARD! I have found that most of my clients and many women in my life find this challenging, even terrifying to do. Whether it is instinctual, due to our childhood or because of past painful experiences, we have learned that it is safer to hold things in. There is a huge fear that if we share what is truly going on inside us that we will be rejected, judged, abandoned, humiliated, or unlovable.
It makes sense that we would have these fears, especially if sharing your feelings didn’t work out in the past and someone responded negatively. It would naturally be hard to share again. But most of us don’t even give it a shot. We are so afraid of the reactions and judgments of others that we don’t even attempt to share our true feelings. We instead pretend like everything is okay so we don’t “rock the boat” and we can stay “cool” with everyone.
The problem with doing this is that it we never allow our authentic selves to come out and, therefore, can never truly be seen. You cannot experience true intimacy if you don’t allow other people a look into your heart, your truth. Not only does it inhibit you from having deep relationships but it can also be toxic to your mind, body, and spirit. You will begin to have pent-up anger, resentment, or sadness that is not properly expressed. These emotions can build up until there is nowhere for them to go but spewed out in fits of rage. I’m sure your past boyfriend may be able to confirm what that looks like. When we have too much suppressed it will eventually boil over on someone else or make us sick.
You know I always like to give tips to overcome challenges! So, here they are – 4 steps that will help you to begin expressing your emotions so that you can feel great and have the depth and closeness with others.
1. Develop Emotional Awareness:
Begin to be conscious of what you are feeling and where it may be coming from. Allow yourself to experience all emotions, even the unpleasant ones like anger, resentment, fear, and sadness. Keeping a journal will help you to articulate what you are feeling and why. You have to be honest with yourself about what you are going through before you can share that truth with someone else.
2. Develop Emotional Intelligence:
This is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Once you know what emotions you feel it is important to think about how to express those emotions. This may be scary because we have never seen role models expressing themselves in a healthy way. Maybe you have seen your parents yelling in anger at each other or experienced a friend blowing up on you. Expressing your emotions doesn’t mean venting everything on your mind with no regard for other people’s feelings. It is important to evaluate, “Am I expressing this from a place of love or fear?” Healthy communication comes from a place of love with an intention of growth and betterment for you and the relationship.
3. Have a goal for speaking your truth:
It is important that you have a healthy goal in mind when you share your feelings with someone. If you want to tell someone they hurt your feelings so that they feel guilty, it is not a healthy goal that is coming from love. Another way of looking at that conversation is that you want to express your authentic self so they can be aware to try not to do the same thing in the future. Your communication will be received much better when you have a healthy goal in mind.
4. Release attachment to the outcome:
It is important to have empathy and keep in mind the feelings of the other person. However, you cannot control how the other person is going to respond. If they get defensive or angry they probably need to work on developing their emotional intelligence more. Remember that it is valuable to honor your authentic self by speaking the truth no matter how the other person reacts. But you will be surprised to see how positively most people respond to others telling them how they feel. Most of us just want to know in order to be close and have healthy relationships. Change and growth can’t happen if you don’t at least try. And you will never see the positive response if you don’t take the risk and be vulnerable with your feelings.
I challenge you to follow these steps and try this out. It may be uncomfortable at first but you will be so happy to see the positive results that come from this. You will not only begin to see the positive response from others but you will see how great you feel when you can release your feelings and truly be your authentic self!