One of the biggest challenges I face with emotions is expressing them in a CLEAR, OPEN and HONEST way.
One day, several years ago while living in Mexico, I was hosting Jason Nemer, a traveling acro-yoga teacher and offered up my bedroom for him to stay in while he was visiting. At the time, I was dating a guy who lived nearby and I figured I could just stay with him while Jason was staying at my place.
This plan, however, was not thought through because we had just started dating and I had NEVER actually stayed the night at his place…EVER! We also hadn’t had the S-E-X talk yet. So when Jason arrived, I confided in him my concerns. I had never been very good at bringing up conversations that were scary to me, and as I was walking out the door I received a pivotal piece of advice that I have carried with me ever since. He said, “Have fun with your CLEAR, OPEN, and HONEST communication!”
What, it’s that simple?!?!
I latched on to this idea and started exploring it.
I was intrigued because in the past I had missed out on so many connections with other people because I had so many fears around opening up and expressing my emotions. Whether they were happy ones or not so pleasant ones, I just kept them all bottled in. I figured if I didn’t let people see all of my cards, I could be more in control.
When I finally realized this method was in no way producing the outcomes and relationships I desired, I started pushing myself past my comfort zone, fear and all, and committed to COMMUNICATING clearly, openly, and honestly!
But first, I had to figure out exactly what that meant.
I spent so many years masking my emotions that it was a task to figure out what I honestly felt, in order to then communicate it.
Now, I often use clarity techniques such as mindfulness meditation, talking with a friend or coach, or body movement to get to the root of the issue and understand my true emotion and where it comes from.
I also learned that just letting someone know where I am emotionally RIGHT NOW, even if I do not have it all quite figured out, is a good step towards clarity. Be cautious of letting someone know where you are emotionally and then expecting them to take responsibility for it. While they may be able to shed some light on the matter, taking responsibility for your emotions in the long run will create more happiness and empower you at all times.
This was the scary part for me. Opening up to someone and letting them see me and all that is going on inside (okay, mostly all) is not an easy task. I worked very hard for many years to manipulate the situation enough so that I would always be safe and that the other person didn’t have the power to hurt me. Tricky thing here is I always ended up hurt because they had NO CLUE how I felt!
A big realization I had was, “They are not mind-readers, nor do they understand the message you THINK you are sending. Basically, he will never know, unless you tell him.” Opening up little by little was a fun and scary time. One of my favorite memories about my relationship with my husband is the first time I expressed my delight in hanging out with him.
It took some SERIOUS pep-talking and determination to walk into the living room and say, “I really enjoy spending time with you.” Now it seems like the simplest comment, but truly my heart was pounding – I was opening up to vulnerability in that moment. I mean, what if he thought I was dumb… or getting too attached! The fear of rejection was real but I did it anyway and it was GLORIOUS! Are you curious what his response was?? He said, “I really enjoy learning from you!” I was ELATED and RELIEVED.
Then, there is honesty. It doesn’t require a lot of explanation of course. Once you are clear with what needs to be communicated and open to expressing it, you can’t help but be honest. Otherwise, what’s the point!?!
So, thank you, Jason Nemer, for the sage advice that began my journey into living with clear, open, and honest communication. And thank you life, for constantly giving me the opportunity to re-learn how to do this!
What tips & tricks do you use to establish clear, open and honest conversations? Share them in the comments below!