“Any relationship that could be ‘ruined’ by having a conversation about feelings, standards, or expectations wasn’t really firm enough anyway, so there isn’t much to ruin”.
It’s much easier to share your thoughts, the intellectual information that is in your brain, than your feelings. Sharing the depth of your feelings that are in your heart takes emotional risk and courage. We get to feel stoical and in control. Others get emotional and overwhelmed while we can keep it together.
The idea that we are strong because we don’t express our feelings is also socially reinforced, so we keep doing it because it’s the right thing to do, right? It also makes you feel exposed and vulnerable, but, it is the very thing that will create closeness and connection in your relationships.
What I’ve learnt is that “Relationships thrive in an environment of emotional safety, openness, and authenticity”.
So what does it really mean?
This means that both people involved need to feel safe with each other, be safe for each other, and be willing to express themselves openly and authentically.
We inhibit ourselves every time we do not speak up or stand up for ourselves. In relationships, we often inhibit ourselves by hiding our feelings and therefore withholding what is true for us. We go along with what the other person wants whether we really want to or not. This is a direct block to intimacy.
When we are not open or honest with what we are feeling and what is going on for us, we deprive others of the opportunity to really get to know us. However, we only do this because we believe that this is the way to be in relationships.
We believe that our feelings are problems for others and expressing them would threaten the relationship, and that’s the thing we don’t want to lose. So, by that logic, inhibition is the way to go.
And that is true for unhealthy, superficial, or unfulfilling relationships. It just doesn’t work if you want to have healthy, intimate, fun, and overall life-enhancing relationships.
I learnt to and still learning though hard,
We all struggle to express in relationships, to ask for what one wanted and express how you felt. We don’t communicate or set boundaries but feel betrayed if they were disrespected or violated. One has lots of different expectations that is never shared but felt absolutely heartbroken if they weren’t met.
In my eyes, I am easy to be with because I didn’t ask for anything. I didn’t complain and I wasn’t demanding. I didn’t nag. I kept my feelings to myself and avoiding confrontation and conflict. But I could only believe that because I was not aware of the consequences of my behavior, which in the end would lead to the breakdown of my relationships in the past.
Not expressing myself in my relationships meant that I did not consider myself. This in itself is a disastrous starting point because a relationship requires two healthy participating individuals. There simply is no relationship if one person is pretty much non-existent.
In healthy relationships, we teach each other about ourselves. We teach each other as we continuously grow and change by expressing what is going on for us. We tell each other what we like and what we don’t like. We share our feelings and how we impact upon each other. We are open to each other’s feedback so we can adjust if we choose to do so.
This is how we create an environment for ourselves and each other that is nurturing, respectful, and loving. It is a perfect environment for well-being and growth, but it is one we must create ourselves by expressing what is true for us.
There simply is no other way, so follow this to help you more comfortable to share what you feel to your partner.
- Accept that feelings are neither right nor wrong
- To help your partner understand what it is like to walk in your shoes. You likely want empathy and understanding in return for sharing your feelings.
- Recognize difference between thoughts vs. feelings
- Realize that feelings come and go and change quickly
- Try to not judge
Remember that you are worthy of expressing yourself. You need to take up space. Your feelings and desires matter. They can’t matter to anyone if they don’t matter to you first.
A healthy relationship requires you to be in it. All of you. You cannot experience deep connection and intimacy if you are not there for it. You cannot make good partner choices if you’re not honest with yourself or consider yourself.