You Don’t Have to Talk About Your Feelings
When you’re feeling emotional, you don’t have to talk about your feelings – no matter how much someone pressures you or what you think or feel about that person. In my marriage, I was often badgered into talking about by my feelings. We’d talk and talk, mostly about right and wrong until I’d officially clam up, feeling frustrated and defeated by someone who could argue better than me. By that point, the original feelings that started all the talking were swept away by thoughts, beliefs, and a battle of wills.
When my ex-husband insisted I talk whenever I was feeling emotional, he kept me stuck in my head, confused and disconnected from the source of my pain. I didn’t know how to “express” my feelings because crying, sighing, fuming, brooding, silence or moping weren’t tolerated or allowed.
When we try to force someone to “talk” about their feelings before they’re willingly ready, we’re actually creating a subterfuge for what really needs to happen, feeling the feelings.
I understand that it’s really hard to allow someone to truly feel. When we give someone the time and freedom to feel their emotions, it can leave us feeling shut out because we “don’t know what they’re thinking.” We don’t know where the emotions are taking them or what they are saying. We don’t know what to do. When feelings are in full swing, there is no logic that can help our case. So this is where we need to be brave, to be able to sit with another person’s feelings and let go of control. Let go of our (somewhat selfish) need to fix the situation, to bring things back to normal as quickly as possible. Feelings don’t often need words. Feelings need time, space, and most of all patience.
When someone is rushing us into a discussion about our feelings, we must honor our emotional state and decline the discussion even though we might sometimes feel the need to defend our right to feel hurt, or sad, or angry. In my case, connecting with my emotions takes time, more time than you would think. I need to journey into the heart of my feelings, deep down into the well of pain where I can open the doors to buried emotions and let them well up and overflow into my life. As a child and young adult, I was a master of repressing, so the place where the feeling comes from isn’t as well developed as it is in some people who were encouraged or allowed to emote as children. I have, like, little weakling emotional muscles that get confused really easily by too many words.
And, I have my own resistance and fears about truly feeling pain and anger, so it takes me a good bit of courage to face my emotions without judgment. And in that situation, what I really need from someone else is to be quiet, to hold my hand, to simply be there and not try to “make it better” with words. And other times I just need to be alone, to allow the waves of emotion to build and crash upon the shore of my being until they’ve pulled every bit of rocky resistance loose, leaving only finely ground sand in its place. My emotional life is sacred and although I might sometimes share it with another, no one gets to make me feel guilty for when and how I deal with it.
What’s your favorite thing to do or favorite place to be when you’re feeling emotional?
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