I had a friend that I would exchange particular text messages with. They were of all of the most hilarious yet profound things we heard while visiting our "southern" family members. Oh, were they funny. They all had some sort of underlying message that hit home for us in some kind of way. Most of my messages were quoting my mother. She is my own personal comedienne. What makes her funnier... she never tries to be funny. it just comes out and we all laugh. Over the past several years I have compiled a list of, "Things my momma says". I am not sure what I will do with it but every so often, I pull out that list, when I need to laugh or even gain a little insight or wisdom. As of late, I have started to compose a list of things I say. They are not as nearly as funny as the things my momma says, but they are seemingly as profound, some of them anyway.
During an intimate conversation, I said something that caught me off guard. I was attempting to encourage someone to do something and as soon as I blurted it out I knew it was for me also. If you don’t say how you feel, you can’t get what you want. Gasp. It seems like a pretty easy concept, right? Sure, for some. For others, not so much.
Why do some people have such a hard saying what they really want? Do they think it’s “too much to ask”? Does saying what they really want make them feel more vulnerable than what they desire?
Expressing your feelings can be a daunting task for some, including me.
Most times folks are quiet because of the F word...fear. Fear of what? Several things. Personally, I stay quiet because I fear being misunderstood. I’m not a huge follower of astrology but I think I read somewhere that Libras are often misunderstood and that’s also one of their biggest fears. I don’t want to muster up courage to spill my guts only for someone to misunderstand or even misconstrue my thoughts and feelings. What a waste of courage, right?
Some are fearful of being vulnerable. Vulnerability. That’s a big word. Huge. When we allow ourselves to express our thoughts and emotions we become open. We are open to the person’s response, good or bad. We leave ourselves open to the possibility of rejection and even abandonment. Oh, the possibilities.
I would venture out to say that one of the main reasons why folks don’t say how they feel is due to conflict phobia. We are afraid that what we feel and eventually express will cause conflict. I typically try my hardest avoid conflict at all cost. Just the thought of conflict, arguing, bickering and disagreement makes me cringe.
Just Say it
A while back I wrote Keeping Quiet Kept Me Hurt. During that time, I was just learning how to rid myself of the fear of being transparent. I grew up in a home where “what goes on at home, stays at home”. I took time to reflect on the bondage staying silent created. Now I’m learning to open my mouth and say what I feel to get what I want. I have caught myself in situations where I was unhappy and I had no one else to blame because I never spoke up to say how I felt. I hadn’t communicated how I wanted things to change. Often times we think we are doing ourselves a favor by staying quiet and keeping our good and not so good feelings all to ourselves. We think we’re protecting ourselves but we’re really not and in some cases, we are causing isolation.
As hard as it may seem, saying what you want and how you feel can be simple. If you miss someone and would like to see them, say that. If you’re uncomfortable with something that’s going on at work, express those thoughts. If you are overwhelmed and need help, vocalize your needs as soon as you can. We can’t expect things to go a certain way if we never express how we would like them to go.
The saying holds true, we have not because we ask not. My mom says, “say what you mean and mean what you say”. I say, if you don’t say what you feel, you can’t get what you want.