If I tell you that expressing your feelings gets easier as you get older, will that make you feel better? I hope so. But I still want to encourage you to tell the people around you how you feel daily.
It’s important to tell the ones you love how you feel. Especially since life is short and you never know when you’ll get another chance. Don’t take anything for granted. If you love someone, tell them. Same thing for the people you appreciate, respect, honor, etc. Take the time to express your feelings.
Life is too short to carry these thoughts around in your head, thinking that you’ll get another chance on another day. Plus, you’ll really make the other person’s day. If you’re not comfortable saying the words, write them in a note. Sing them in a song. Just communicate them!
Positive feelings are the easy ones. You might be self-conscious, but you aren’t waiting for a kick-back of negativity like you are when you express negative emotions. Still, it’s just as important–if not more–to express those negative emotions for your own well-being.
Years and years of swallowing negative feelings takes a toll on our bodies and souls. It wears us down, weakens us. Physically, it can amp up our stress levels which affects our health and well-being. Emotionally, we become uncertain about ourselves, questioning what we feel; wondering if we are feeling “correctly.”
Feelings are feelings. There are no right or wrong ones. They simply are. It is okay to feel what you feel, without passing judgment on the emotion. Anger, frustration, pleasure, love, happiness, envy–every emotion in the spectrum–has a place in the human experience and should be accepted without question.
While the feeling is neutral, it’s the reaction it generates in us that might have a consequence. Do you experience anger by punching a wall? Violence is not good. Do you experience envy by treating the person you envy poorly? That’s not right. Do you experience love by over-indulging in something? Again, not good.
As we grow, we need to create useful skills to deal with negative and positive emotions. We learn these skills from our caregivers and other people we grow up around. We model their behavior in positive circumstances, and learn to do the opposite when we see them behaving poorly. We learn from friends, romantic partners, family members–everyone we meet. We learn from people we see on television and in movies.
How do we communicate negative thoughts and feelings in a constructive way. How do you tell someone you’re mad at them? How do you tell someone they’ve hurt your feelings? How do you tell someone you do not like how they treat you?
For many of us, these are hard things to say. Will we lose control? Will we cry? Will we seem weak? Will we end up apologizing for feeling our feelings?
- You can prepare what to say. Write things down. Rehearse in front of the mirror. Practice with a friend. Get feedback from someone you trust.
- You can speak from the heart and say whatever comes to mind. You lose some control with spontaneity, but things might get said that might have been missed by over-rehearsing. There’s something to be said for ad-libbing.
- You can use I-statements. For example: “I feel angry when you are late for our dates.” Saying this instead of “you make me angry when you’re late for our dates” takes the pressure off the other person. It places the emotional responsibility on you, leaving the other person feeling less attacked and accused.
- You can go to therapy. If the issue is serious enough, you can engage the services of a therapist to help you address it. If you are afraid that the other person might get violent when you bring it up, this could be the best way.
There are so many ways to communicate your feelings. The important thing is to experience them and express them. Letting people know how you feel is good for you and for them. Whether good or bad, keeping your feelings about another person or their behavior does no good. Without knowing how you feel, the people around you don’t get a chance to know the real you. They don’t get to fix the things they are doing wrong or to do more of the things they are doing right.
Expressing your feelings can only make your world a better place. And who wouldn’t want that?
Let me know if you’re making any life changes after reading this series! I’m curious to see if things are looking different!