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If You Do These 7 Things Often, You’ve Bottled Up Your Feelings Too Much

If You Do These 7 Things Often, You’ve Bottled Up Your Feelings Too Much

Emotional repression is something we’ve all done at one point or another. Maybe you’ve experienced a break-up, and instead of allowing yourself to feel and work through your emotions, you just block out all the feelings and go on as if it never happened. We live in a world that teaches us all to be strong no matter what we’re going through. Here are a few things you could be doing that may mean you’re repressing your emotions too much.

1. You have a rough exterior

You’re that person at the funeral who is probably the only one who isn’t crying. You appear unaffected by your boyfriend breaking up with you. To those around you, you’d probably be described as someone who is unemotional. Believe it or not, there is no such thing as an unemotional person. Even psychopaths experience some sort emotion; it’s just not interpersonal empathy.

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But still never you, though, right? Of course not!

2. You have irrational anxieties

You may think that if you bottle up your feelings, they’ll just go away, but that’s not true. Eventually, they’re going to come out in irrational ways. Do you know someone who has a small ailment and then all of sudden they think they have three weeks to live? Yeah, probably not the friend who is the most in-touch with their emotions.

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3. You find the positive in every negative

Now you may be thinking: “that’s a good thing! It’s a good quality to be able to find the positive things in a negative situation.” Let’s say that you thought things were going well with you and your boyfriend and then out of nowhere he cuts it off. You meet up with your BFF for lunch, and she asks how you’re holding up. It’s something you’d rather not discuss so you tell her that you’re glad it happened because you didn’t see him as someone you’d spend the rest of your life with. But you both know that’s a lie. Being able to appear positive in every situation could mean you’re never confronting your real feelings.

4. You’re always on the go

It’s pretty exhausting to jump from one thing to the next. You’re one of those people who can’t sit still for more than an hour without starting to think about all the things you could be doing. You’d rather work 60 hour work weeks before taking a day for yourself to relax.

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5. You’re famous for pulling the disappearing act

So you’ve been talking to this guy for awhile, and things seem like they’re going pretty well. He’s keeping it cool and low-key and then one day he drops this bomb on you that he’s starting to develop feelings for you. YIKES! That’s just something you can’t handle, so you drop off the face of the earth for awhile until he pretty much forgets who you are and so you don’t have to deal with it.

6. You’re the sounding board for everyone

You know it, I know it, everyone knows it- it’s so much easier to give advice and deal with someone else’s emotions than it is to deal with your own. To take the attention away from your issues, you’re always readily available to take the time to help your friends sort out their emotional crises. And let’s be real- doing that can make you feel like you’re really in touch with your feelings. Here’s a little secret – it’s just a tactic you have to avoid your own.

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7. Always dating the wrong person

You always somehow end up dating the wrong person, but you never have to worry about becoming too close to them. If you’re able to avoid that emotional intimacy with someone, you don’t have to worry about dealing with those emotions yourself.

In all seriousness, though, your mind and your body are all that you have. The next time you find yourself feeling closed off and holding in the feelings that you feel you shouldn’t feel, remember that what your emotions are real. It’s okay and you’re okay. There is so much strength in being real.

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Erica Wagner

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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