The people that come into our lives, be it romantic partners, friends, even family members – are often here to teach us important lessons, and sometimes to challenge us until we learn said lesson.
At times we can get so wrapped up in trying to be the perfect partner, friend, or sister, that we forget to be aware of whether or not we’re actually happy in the relationship. Confrontation never feels good – it’s way easier to say, “Well . . . I’ll just let this go. I’m overreacting. I can deal with this on my own instead of starting a whole big mess.”
True, it is easier. But in the long run, as we continue to dismiss our feelings for the sake of avoiding conflict, our ability and/or desire to speak up for what we truly need becomes smaller and smaller. And more than that, eventually the whole thing will erupt into one giant conflict because our feelings have been bottled up for so long.
This probably isn’t news to you. We all know it’s unhealthy to bottle up our feelings. But even now, I see that in the beginning of so many relationships, people aren’t being their authentic selves. How many times have you heard the “rules” that come with dating & relationships, such as never calling a guy first, don’t be the nagging girlfriend, wait before you text him back, don’t say ‘I love you’ first, don’t be too emotional, etc?
Who made this stuff up??
What would happen if we all said exactly how we were feeling in relationships? If we weren’t afraid of what might happen with the partnership, but instead, felt empowered enough to stand up for what we truly want?
What if we assumed that it would only strengthen the relationship to be so unapologetically ourselves?
This is something that I’ve struggled with big time. I’m a hugely emotional person, but I wanted to come off as “the chill girl” with my boyfriend at the beginning of our relationship. I wanted him to think I was relaxed all the time, that I didn’t care if he forgot to text back, and that I was up for anything.
Seriously, I could not be more opposite of those things, but I was so scared to confront him, thinking that he’d dump me immediately for creating one tiny conversation. But I knew intuitively that I deserved to say something and make my feelings known. Once I opened up the conversation about how I would feel more aligned in our relationship if a few things here and there were more carefully paid attention to, I felt so relieved and empowered. And guess what? He didn’t break up with me. It was simply a conversation about how we can make each other happier in our partnership.
These conversations, whether they go well or not, aren’t easy. So how can you start to feel more at ease being vulnerable in your relationships?
- Recognize that you deserve to be heard – If your partner, friend, or sister felt unhappy, you’d want them to say something to you, right? Well you deserve that same recognition. Moreover, you won’t be able to serve the other person in the relationship if you’re not being true to your own needs.
- Stop apologizing – This is so huge. Don’t be sorry for crying. Don’t be sorry for making someone else uncomfortable just so you could have your voice heard. Don’t feel bad about the fact that you feel bad. Don’t apologize for being who you are.
- Think of it as a growth opportunity within the relationship – When two people are really owning up to what they need and want, the relationship can only get stronger. From that point, you’re both abundantly clear about what needs to be done in order to make things even better. Feel good knowing that you get the opportunity to make this person happier.
Relationships are hard to begin with. Two people being together, changing every day, and attempting to understand what goes on inside the other person’s head, all while managing your own life . . . it’s a lot to think about.
But the more effort we put into bettering ourselves – and that means being who we are and not being silent about it – the more we’re able to show up in our relationships to serve the other person.
What do you think? Do you struggle with being vocal with your needs? What tips do you have for those of us who loathe confrontation? Share your insights in the conversation box below.