Have you ever noticed how when you hold something inside, it has a tendency to just grow and grow and grow?
We, in our pleasure-based society, spend a lot of energy trying to avoid unpleasant situations. This often means that we choose NOT to bring up uncomfortable conversations with those we love and care about.
We think it’s easier to just “let it go” rather than to talk it out; however, this strategy often produces the opposite result from what we desire.
In reality, the quickest way to “let something go” IS to talk it out.
If you are a withholder, here is an experiment:
Think back on a time when you decided to just “let something go” instead of approaching the subject with the person.
- How long did it take you to finally stop thinking about it?
- How many times did you go over and over the scenario in your head? And did that fuel the fire?
- Does it still creep in every once in a while?
And the most important question to ask yourself is how did not talking about it affect your relationship with that person?
You see, what happens when you hold something inside is it seeps into your subconscious and starts affecting your relationship and your mood. For some reason you are no longer excited when that particular friend calls, or you start snapping at your partner for things that before did not really bother you.
When you avoid uncomfortable situations and emotions, they will only grow stronger inside until they FORCE you to look at them. And at that point, it’s usually not very pretty.
The Game Plan
So here are a few tips on approaching a difficult topic:
- Let the person know you need to talk to them about something.
This gives them time to turn their listening ears on or let you know if it is not a good time.
- Express to them your discomfort and fears around even bringing up the topic.
This will prepare them to hear you and help keep them from getting defensive.
- Proceed to open up to them with what you are feeling and do your absolute best to avoid blaming.
Use “I feel (insert emotion) about x,y,and z…” to keep the focus on you.
- Take responsibility for your feelings.
Understand that you are triggered by certain situations because of everything you have experienced in your life, so you need to own that part of you.
- After you’ve had the conversation do not allow your brain to continue its loop thinking.
Your brain is wired to think about things, so make sure that if the issue has been resolved you give it something else on which to focus.
By taking a proactive position and choosing to step into that discomfort and approach the situation with vulnerability and openness, you can move right through all that unpleasantness into a stronger relationship.
The more you practice opening up and expressing when something is bothering you, the easier it will become and the more confidence you will have in your ability to speak your mind.
You will often find that simply mentioning what’s going on is enough to release the irritation. It doesn’t need to turn into a long, drawn out discussion, although it may sometimes require a more in depth conversation.
Start when the issue is small so you can nip it in the bud! When you withhold, it will gain so much power and eventually explode!
I’d love your comments below if you have ever experienced the power of not speaking up. How did it affect you?
What about these tips could you find useful in your daily life?
If you think this article could be useful for others in your life, please share!