Tag Archives: honesty

3 Steps to Tell Someone How You Feel Without Feeling Incredibly Guilty

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.

tell someone how you feel

Tweet: It’s better to say how you feel sooner than later. The longer you put it off, the higher chance of bigger problems later on. @jenilyn8705

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?

Breathe.

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!

The Extremely Awkward Situation I Caused Myself Due to People Pleasing

A few months ago I made a new friend. We met at this community get-together and we had a few interests in common. I felt happy to be making some new connections in the area. We made plans to go hang out. We debated to ride our bikes around or just get some coffee at the local Starbucks. Eventually we decided to on see a movie and get a bite to eat. Just a simple friendly Friday-night hangout… or at least that’s what I thought.

It was within the first 5 minutes of walking into the movie theater that I came to the awkward realization of “Oh wait… he doesn’t think this is a just a friendly hangout like I thought… he thinks its a… date”.

Very awkward situation – and I had NEVER found myself in this situation before. I was petrified, nervous and really didn’t want to deal with a confrontation right smack dab in the middle of his perceived date. So what did I do? I did the very thing that I’m best at… being a people pleaser. I focused on keeping him comfortable despite my extreme uncomfortableness.

Now, when I say “people pleaser” here I don’t mean that I went along with this and pretended it was a date too. Oh no no! I set my boundaries, but I did try to avoid the confrontation that could potentially lead to a very awkward situation, which would result in hurting his feelings or embarrassing the hell out of him. I filtered my words in order to avoid mentioning “boyfriend” when at all possible at this point… all the while trying to remember if I did mention “boyfriend” at all in our first meeting and then asking myself over and over again if why I didn’t say that word in EVERY sentence I spoke to this guy from the very moment I met him. And then recreating what tI should have said in that first meeting so I wasn’t stuck in this god-awful situation. It was something like:

“Where are you originally from?”

“The Midwest. I HAVE A BOYFRIEND.”

“How long have you been coming here?”

“I HAVE A BOYFRIEND. It’s only my second visit. BOYFRIEND! DID YOU HEAR THAT?!”

Maybe they should just make t-shirts for women to wear who are already in a relationship, I thought to myself. Then we never EVER have the possibility of this happening (cause, trust me, I really hope NO other woman finds herself in this situation).

I implied buying my own dinner, though he didn’t seem to get the hint or notice my extreme awkwardness about the whole thing. I ended up letting him pay for my dinner at the time to avoid the awkward confrontation I could see it would cause. And, though it confused him, I was sure to make it known that I was NOT interested in any of his advances.

Most. Awkward. Situation. Ever.

Eventually, even though I dreaded the thought of doing it, I build up enough guts to tell him. It didn’t go as well as I hoped, but, realistically, could that have turned out well?

Needless to say, I spent the next day beating myself up over it. Feeling bad for hurting him, his reaction when he did find out, and over-thinking how I should’ve did things differently when we first met.

I was really stuck on all those bad feelings, so I took a little break and began to write down a prayer on a piece of paper. The prayer was to help me release all of the feelings from this situation and to heal. As I was writing the full reality of the situation hit me:  When you’re people-pleasing, you are not really “pleasing” anyone — you’re just making a mess of things.  In every moment, just be honest.

people pleasing

I realized that in this situation, if I actually told him the very second I recognized that he perceived our hangout to be a date, then the whole situation would’ve turned out so much better. It was simply because I waited it out due to fear of embarrassment (both mine and his) that the end result became as bad as it did. If I said something right away it would’ve been easily forgotten and things would’ve carried on smoothly.

This same idea can be applied in many situations, such as:

  • Avoiding to ask a friend you drive with to class if she could split the cost of gas with you because you feel bad asking for money.

  • Being annoyed with your roommate because she is cleaning the kitchen after 5 PM and now you have no room to cook yourself dinner. Yet, you avoid telling her your feelings because you don’t want to hurt her feelings.

  • Telling your boyfriend that you will go out tonight with him even though you’re tired and you have a lot of work to do.

Every time we avoid expressing our authentic thoughts and feelings it doesn’t mean that our own half of the equation has just “disappeared”. It’s still there. It’s just that now it’s hidden, repressed, and chances are it’s still going to come out one way or another. Either by the person finding out or just making ourselves miserable.

So next time you find yourself avoiding to tell someone your truth in hopes to please them, keep in mind that you’re actually not pleasing anyone by not saying it. The only TRUE way to “please” is to be honest.

And, hopefully, that can help us to not only diminish the severity of conflict, but also help us avoid some pretty awkward situations.

Stop people pleasing and start being more authentic today!

How has people pleasing hurt you and your relationships? Has there been any awkward situations you’ve put yourself in all because you’ve wanted to “please” someone else? What can you tell someone today in order to truly “please” you and others?