" What's wrong babe?"
" I don't want to talk about it?"
" Well, why not?"
" I just don't feel like talking about it, that's all."
" Well, when do you want to talk about it?"
" Sometime soon..."
This conversational excerpt may seem familiar for you. It may remind you of past conversations with a partner or loved one. What makes us not want to talk about what is bothering us? What is stopping us from expressing out true feelings?
We have been accustomed to people pleasing. To not be a burden on anyone's time, energy or overall well being. We get used to repressing our emotions just for the sake of not having to "deal" with them in a way that might seem daunting or harsh. I for one have been accustomed to answering " nothing" when obviously something is wrong.
Edie Brickell hits it on the head in the song most appropriately called Nothing.
We hit these walls when we know that communication should be the most important thing in our relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but friendships and interpersonal encounters.
It's understandable. We get caught in a mood or fixated on a certain thing that annoys us. We suddenly become that mood. Our anger hijacks our being and distances ourselves from expressing or even truly feeling the emotion for what it is. The easy way out seems to ride out the emotion or simply just hold onto it until something else distracts us.
What if we were to do something radical?
What if we were to challenge our habits and purposefully make ourselves more uncomfortable with our passing moods?
And yes, they always pass.
You may feel uncomfortable expressing something that could bring someone else's emotions down or even ruin the vibe. What if we were to be direct in saying how we feel without blowing up like mentos in a diet coke bottle? When things are direct and not focused on blaming or condemning, people won't be swarmed to get so offensive.
Let's say someone said something or did something that was particularly annoying to you.
You feel that icy cold discomfort shoot up the back of your neck. Three seconds ago you were just thinking about how nice it was outside then, Boom! You are thrown off kilter and out of wack.
You show all your signs in your body first. Non verbal communication tends to be the easiest to read and to distinguish. Instead of retreating into yourself, actually feel what it is doing to your body. Don't resist it. How does it make your head feel? How does it make your arms feel?
How does it make your legs feel? Etc.
Let's say that your friend or lover notices your physical discomfort and asks, "what's wrong?"
Usually, you would unconsciously and immediately go towards the nothing and shoo it off when in actuality you were driving the emotional stake deeper in your heart. You would prolong the inevitable. This time you can allow a space for honesty and growth.
You could say something like this.
" I've been thinking about something you just said and it made me uncomfortable. I take responsibility for my own response and since you asked, I wanted to be open in order to understand why I feel the way I feel and how others act."
When you come from a place that doesn't judge or codemn, you shorten the gap between you and them. Instead of staying with the " I don't want to talk about it ", you went against the grain. This is where awesome emotional growth happens. When you don't "feel" like talking about it, but "need" to, the best thing to do is the most uncomfortable in order for that growth to happen.
Let your mind be fluid with understanding .
See the emotions as great teachers and intuitive guides for what actions you should take. If you think a hostile or aggressive response is an answer, then you are just calling for more of that in your life and relationships. If someone is hostile towards you, go the other way. Say that you understand their hurt and see what happens.
Sometimes the best time to express what you feel is when you don't feel like expressing in the first place.