Usually I post about fashion, food, fitness, or the babe….but sometimes, once every now and then, I like to focus more the bigger picture, the life and living and thinking stuff.
We all have our struggles, personality traits that hold us back, issues that come up in our lives. Something that has stuck with me since I was quite young is a seeming inability to voice my opinions, negative feelings, or needs when it comes to communicating with those I care about. Put me in a situation where I am in no way emotionally invested and I have no problem speaking up, asking for exactly what I need, but once that friendship/partnership/relationship is established I lose my voice and eat my feelings. As I’m sure you can imagine, stuffing my feelings wreaks havoc on my emotional well-being and in turn can create issues in my life with those that I care about.
I don’t know where the fear of speaking my truth came from or what instances spurred it, but now years later I do understand that I developed this fear because I believed that if I told someone how I really truly felt they would no longer love me, no longer want to be my friend. I was convinced that if I had an opinion that did not align exactly with how they felt/thought/believed that this would end the friendship. I felt that I could not state my needs because I was more fearful of hurting the feelings of those I was engaging with than not getting what I needed. In short, I somehow missed out on how to have successful friendships that could weather the times when my friends and I would disagree; I whole-heartedly believed that disagreement or a differing of opinion on any level would ruin whatever relationship I was in. In grade school, if my friends liked a certain type of music, I liked it too. If they were all about a specific movie, sports star, or style, I agreed and went along with everything they said, terrified that speaking up would result in the end of our relationship and possible ridicule. By repeating this process over and over without even being aware of it, it became second nature to brush aside my own thoughts and feelings and simply go along with whatever was going on around me. I told myself that acting like that just made me likable, agreeable, sweet. In reality it made me weak, passive, boring, and resentful. I was literally swallowing my feelings and losing myself.
Flash-forward to present time. I started to realize that the behavior that once seemed to serve me no longer held any value (I’m not sure it ever did), and the last few years I have become more and more aware of how detrimental it is to stuff my feelings and not speak my truth. Unfortunately, after over a decade of stuffing, it was not so easy to simply start speaking up or asking for what I need. I spent so many years trying not to have needs, trying not to rock the boat or have an opinion that veered too far from the opinions of those around me that now I was playing catch-up. I found myself trying desperately to figure out how to do something that most people had been doing all of their lives, something that for me was both unnatural and incredibly uncomfortable.
In this last crazy week with Little C being sick, I was faced several times with the choice to either a) voice my feelings and be honest and true to myself or b) tell people what they wanted to hear, smooth over the situation, and walk away with my feelings stuffed as deep as they could go. Each time that I was confronted with whether to choose a or b, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and spoke (or more often texted) my truth. Even more interestingly each subsequent occurrence where I was faced with the choice to be me or give up became easier and easier – I guess practice really does make perfect, right? I also became less apologetic about my opinions; that has always been another issue of mine, if I DO choose to be brave enough to have an opinion in the past I would follow up whatever I said with “sorry” or something in that vein. Why I felt the need to apologize for being me I don’t know – but stating something and then saying sorry right away isn’t really speaking your truth; it’s speaking your truth and then attempting to swallow it, to stuff it back down before it causes this mayhem that you are anticipating.
And you know what? I’m actually really grateful that I had so many chances this week to choose who I wanted to be, because there is no better way to practice than in real-life applications. I’m grateful that in the last few years I realized that I don’t need other’s approval, that I am not going to be shunned or disliked or unloved for simply having an opinion…and furthermore I’ve come to slowly understand that IF someone does in fact take issue with my choice to be me, then they probably were not worth the time anyways. I don’t want to be liked for being agreeable or easy-going, I want to be liked for being me, unpopular opinions and all. I want to be unapologetic and real and true to myself. I want to speak my truth more. I’ve spent a very long time in silence because I was afraid of hurting feelings or severing ties, and I’ve slowly started to move past. I will never be mean or callous or completely disregard the feelings of others (it just isn’t in my blood to behave like that) but I believe that I can be honest and truthful regardless of how my feeling and needs effect the other person/people in the relationship. I will no longer be apologetic for my reality or my needs. I will be true to me, and go from there. That is the only thing to be done, the only way to move forward. The only way to grow.