Sometimes you may port with a friend to get something off your chest however, if you want to actually change the way your relationships proceed and help YOU become a better version of yourself, this article shares a simple how-to formula to get over the basic fears all humans have when discussing their feelings in relationships.
This post isn’t a consent to blab and just say what is on your mind. A lot of people are doing this on social networking and off-line to your face, these days – and we’re not seeing plenty of benefit from that.
When we think about how much random emotion is being expressed in the world, you might begin to wonder if emotion has been hidden by our cultural socialisation for such a long time – and now we are just beginning to take the lid from it – so that it now gets expressed in random circumstances and in ways that doesn’t have any regulation or a stop button.
It is also not just negative emotions which we struggle to express.
Or find it squeamish to give a compliment to someone just because you feel inspired by them.
Somehow, in the socialisation of young children we’ve made the expression of emotions conditional; OK sometimes, OK not other times. And in terms of positive emotions we also have become very tainted and boring about celebrating them.
What once was natural for us as kids to express glee, joy and bliss becomes awkward and uncalled for when we’re an adult or a teenager.
So it got me wondering why, when and how do we transition from readily expressing joy or despair to fighting that.
For each of us there is the stage or an age or event or a set of gathered events where a growing child stops enjoying who they are and become more worried about how they’re perceived and received by others. The tipping point, where you concentrate more on who you think you should be – to be acceptable – is unique for every individual.
The reason why we want a person to accept us is very much about survival. The more someone likes you, the more likely you will be accepted as a member of the tribe that looks after you.
However, if you can’t be honest with your feelings, subconsciously you feel the price tag. And the price tag is: you can not be your authentic self. But you’re prepared to lose your authenticity or explain your requirements or your point of view to be able to”maintain” the perceived status quo, not rock the boat and go along with the tribe – and your perception of what the tribe considers.
If you grew up in a traditional family structure, you know what this means: you have to turn up for family dinners, you don’t talk about particular topics with certain family members, you can’t talk about that really hot topic because it is taboo. In personal relationships, some of those have to include: ” I must reply to texts immediately, I must like what my loved one does or who they hang with etc..
What I’ve learnt working with individuals is that a person will spend more energy in concealing their authentic self and feelings than risking speaking up for many varied fears such as:
Someone they care about feeling left out or not important
Being perceived as impinging on someone else’s needs
Fear of upsetting someone with a touchy issue (politics, injury, bad experience previously )
Being viewed as weak, not self-evident and not competent
not being like “everyone else” (the tribe)
Fear of pushing back because you may create conflict
Fear of being seen as contrary to the group
Fear of being too independent or seen as selfish, putting your needs before others
People create great stories about why others might not be able to handle their feelings. And this is always influenced by the culture’s interpretations of what is appropriate.
On the personal level, we place a lot of energy into sustaining the cultural story about what’s appropriate in our own heads, as opposed to actually talking with people to share what is going on for us.
Part of the struggle in contemporary society, is that cultural norms are changing and while we need to quantify our expression of feelings from the past cultural norms – they have shifted to a level where we are no longer sure of the way to be”respectful” of others while also being authentic and expressing our unique needs. In the past, people’s roles were pretty clear, but now there’s so much more freedom about ways to behave. That makes people a little mad because they really do not know what to do with all the new found freedom. And then occasionally revert back to previous cultural standards where you”should” do what the tribe said.
So if you’re looking to be respectful and authentic in expressing your feelings here is a basic formula.
This is best performed face-to-face. If you’re bad at face to face – you can try this via text, however your body will feel more relaxed if you are face to face.
Start your conversation with the goal to connect with the person and have the best results for the two of you.
Begin your saying by foregrounding something you appreciate about the individual like”hey I really think about you when I hear that tune x” recall a memory you have together, remember something that connects the two of you in a good way or something interesting that they’ll connect with.
Ask yourself, what am I afraid of happening if I tell them how I feel or what I need? Think about telling the person”look I am concerned about x, but I want to discuss something with you”. Do not hide your fear, but do not make it a sob story. Tell them simply what you are concern is and then go straight to sharing. Do not use the word fear, use a phrase like”I’m concerned” or make it even more vague like”I was thinking x”.
Tell them what you need at the easiest shortest way possible (with no narrative ) and then be silent. Wait for them to respond, check out their face, breathing, body language. And you’ll be much better off staying quite – because that gives them the sign that you want them to speak.
Each connection will have its own quirks.
So not everyone will be civil, sit down and listen. And you may need to tweak the words to suit that individual’s language style.
But what I have learnt from step 1 – just focussing on the intent of the best outcome for the relationship has made individuals who normally would not chat – soften and also be responsive and natural.
From Step 2, foregrounding something you like about the relationship has also had huge results. It has made people soften, opened up conversations to flow in way that was utterly unexpected, got another person to start telling stories that they never shared and resulted in family outings that never would have happened… and so on.
So for the touch instances, concentrate on Steps 1 and 2… and wait til the moment arises that you broadcast the rest. Sometimes, you might not have to, occasionally steps 1 and 2 have allowed something to shift from the’mindset’ between the two individuals where matters fall into a better rhythm so your perceived fear – is actually not real – and you see that you just needed to connect with the person.
We often forget that focusing on what is good about a connection actually makes the relationship happen at all.
What you were so easily able to leap and observe when you were a kid – is also what makes a connection effortless to jump up and down about as an adult.
Folks respond the best when we connect them to what makes us feel great about them.