One of the biggest reasons for conflict is communication or lack there of, for me- it’s been the one area in my life, where I fully disengage and simply shut down. Feeling like a deer caught in headlights when someone asks me to share my thoughts or how I’m feeling. In my process for digging deeper and holding myself accountable in my own life- I have looked at the areas in which I have felt uncomfortable, but have been unwilling to share those feelings in order to spare upset. This week’s blog post digs deeper into the ways I have come to realize that my current communication style needs work. Have a read!
It Ain’t Serving Me
Sometimes I get frustrated with myself, because at the age of 37, almost 38- I should be able to express how I feel and I really shouldn’t be losing sleep over what someone else thinks of me, right? But instead what it seems to be doing is stunting me. Instead of being able to walk around knowing I am speaking my truths, I shy away, I allow others to continue to abuse my kindness and in turn I take on the damages. Although, I use writing as a form of self-expression and ways to organize and manage my thoughts and feelings, I do not use the same tool to let people know the true impact of their behaviours on me. What I learned a lot this year, was that if I allowed my communication style to remain the same, in its current form, it’s not going to work out well for me. Don’t get be wrong, in all aspects of human interactions, it’s about compromise, we can’t always get our way and sometimes you have to swallow a tough pill and go along with things. But, if I’m always the one taking the poisoned chalice, then who saves me? If I’m smiling or keeping silent while someone takes advantage of my kindness and patience, then I am giving them the impression they can continue as they were. What am I doing for myself? I believe I’m keeping the peace or my mental dialogue at bay, but in turn I am leaving myself pent up, upset and possibly resentful. What protections do I have in place in order to let someone know this is having a negative effect on me? Standing up and advocating for myself-this will be the only way they will be able to understand and learn my boundaries, but it also gives me situations in which to fully put them into use.
A little communication goes a long way…
Lying To Myself
I am one of those people who would avoid conflict pretty much at all cost. I will gladly swallow my emotions and sit in discomfort, rather than tell you just how I was feeling. For some reason. I feel like it’s better or easier for me to swallow or bottle those feelings, rather than tell another and possibly make them feel off putted by it. How generous, right? But over time, what I realized was that I wasn’t being honest with myself and I wasn’t allowing someone access to parts of me. Though, in no way was it a calculated thing per se- I thought I was making it easier and just placating a situation. But the fact of the matter was, I wasn’t happy. I was feeling some level of discomfort and I allowed people to go on thinking what they had said or did had little to no effect on me, when in fact it very much did. This lying though in turn, affected my ability to be able to properly read my own feelings, because I had become so accustomed to hiding or patching how I was really feeling. I wasn’t really able to properly interpret it all, and also share how it was when the opportunity arose. Essentially, it messed up my ability and efficiency at communication, as it was filled with various levels of self-doubt and tucking away my vulnerability.
Don’t call me too sensitive when you disrespect my boundaries.
Honour My Feelings
Leaving things unsaid meant I am choosing to be dishonest with myself about my intentions or my true feelings. Yes it is fear based, yes it is an insecurity, yes it is from low key people pleasing, but what I have come to realize, is how I’ve shifted my mental narrative. How I look at it is, honouring my feelings, that are there- they are potentially reactionary, but they also allow someone to truly know just how I am feeling. Keeping it bottled up or hidden will not only do me harm, but it blocks the possibility of finding commonality. It builds connection, it allows for mutual trust and at the end of the day those feelings are valid and I should let them be what they are. Not placing too much pressure on pushing them aside or even worrying about how they’ll land. If you love and trust this person, they will understand your intentions or they will know/trust you well enough to ask for clarification. The fear stems from me simply wanting to cause the least upheaval or discomfort, but the assumption that it will cause an upheaval is also a narrative I tell myself with no basis for this fear. So, I’ve been forcing myself to dig deep, feel the fear and to go anyways.