We’ve all been there. You know, that moment when you feel like you have to tell someone how you feel or to inform them of a decision you made that you know will hurt them.
I know that at least for myself, it doesn’t seem to matter who it is or the situation involved but every time I have to do it I just feel an insane amount of guilt. Guilt, embarrassment, and shame… all followed with this internal dialogue of questioning whether what I said was worth saying.
Because of this, many of us try to avoid it. We keep dating that guy for longer than we should have because we’re terrified of hurting him. We avoid telling a friend how something they say or do hurts us because we are scared it will cause the friendship to end. We keep going to that therapist or doctor that we’re not completely happy with just because we don’t want to make them feel like they’re not good enough.
The problem with all these situations is that the truth of our feelings are never exposed. We fear hurting the other person so incredibly much that we’d rather stuff those feelings deep within ourselves and convince ourselves that we never experienced those feelings at all.
Sounds like the best solution, right? Well, it’s not all that great.
The truth is that even though we repress all those feelings, it doesn’t mean that the feelings themselves disappeared.
They’re still there; they are still alive within you. The only difference is that now you have repressed them and they’re buried somewhere deep to a point that you are no longer aware of them.
These deeply repressed emotions are what the swiss psychologist Carl Jung described as the shadow. We are ourselves not aware of them, but they still emerge in a way so that others can see them. It can be seen in our own defense mechanisms. It emerges in our own unique self-defeating way that prevents us from full genuine intimacy.
The shadow can be very difficult to recognize, but it is important to be mindful and anticipate the need to confront it from time to time.
And so, it is very incredibly important for us to NOT hold back our genuine feelings. If we feel like our roommate is being too controlling or if they’re messiness is driving us crazy we have to tell them. By holding it back it only makes it worse down the road cause the emotions build up within us and we then tend to “explode”.
So how can we break through those barriers of fear so we can express our true emotions without feeling incredibly guilty?
Before you even say or do anything, be sure to breathe and get centered. The more the thing that we are about to share with the person has emotionally impacted us, then the more inclined we are to simply “explode” and let it ALL out right away. This is exactly what we DON’T want to do. So breathe, relax, and ease yourself into saying what you need to say.
Be mindful of how it is impacting the other person.
As I said previously, we don’t want to “explode”, we want to ease into it and share little bits at a time. By doing this, it makes it MUCH easier for the other person because then they are less likely to feel attacked. When sharing, also try to use empathetic communication, which involves saying things to acknowledge that you understand how the other person feels. This also helps to lower the tension.
Know that nothing you can say will ever be 100% perfect.
We can be as cautious as we can possibly be when we share certain things, but sometimes people are always going to find something little that you said and feel offended or hurt by it. Know that you ARE trying your best. Commend yourself for even being courageous enough to share this with the other person. It takes a LOT of risk! You deserve a pat on the back for trying.
Ultimately, keep in mind that what you are sharing is TRUE FOR YOU and because it is true for you it matters. Everyone will experience each situation slightly differently so it’s common to feel like you’re “wrong” if no one else experienced the same thing. Be honest and true with yourself. If we remember that, all the crazy guilt we experience can diminish quite a bit.
Tell Someone How to REALLY Feel Without Feeling Guilty!
Think of something that you want to tell someone but you’ve been putting it off to avoid hurting the person. How could you say the truth now in the smoothest way possible? How could you “ease them in” on the truth?
Share what you think would be the best thing to say or share your experiences below!