Something I have been consistently working on is communicating my feelings to others when I feel hurt. I can talk about my life and how I feel all day long, I mean I have this whole blog centered around my life and my feelings. But actually telling others how they made me feel has always been a major task. So much so that I often avoided it altogether.
I Wasn’t An Advocate For Myself
Telling someone something they did or said hurt me, has always been hard for me. So hard. And after 25 years of life, I still find it difficult to do. Especially because I’m sensitive and it doesn’t take a whole lot to hurt me (something I’ve always hated). Whenever I was hurt I would keep it bottled up and hold onto it until I got over it, if I ever got over it. This would also cause me to do one of two things, shut down and fall back until I felt like I could talk to them again, or distance myself and drop them all together because I felt the relationship wasn’t worth saving.
Two people made me realize this was not healthy, or mature, and they FORCED me to learn how to communicate my hurt. My ex and my therapist. Can you imagine being in a relationship with someone who would just stop talking to you when you made them upset? Smh, I was ridiculous at times. I hate confrontation and I hate arguing. It took me years to learn (I’m still learning) that this wasn’t conducive to leading healthy friendships or relationships and wasn’t doing me any good emotionally.
Experience Taught Me
Experience is one of life’s greatest teachers and I’ve definitely learned from experience just how communication can make or break friendships and relationships. Part of communicating effectively is knowing how to express hurt and also express remorse. I mention expressing remorse because I’m not perfect at hearing that I hurt someone either. It’s easy to immediately go on the defense when someone has admitted that they felt hurt by me. Instinct goes straight to “Defend yourself!” instead of “Listen to what they’re saying and apologize.”
I don’t have a list of steps that I used to get better at this, I just worked at it. And oh was it difficult. At times, friends had to force me to let them know how I’ve been hurt by them. My therapist gave me assignments centered around this, and my ex used to MAKE me talk about it. The process has been difficult, but rewarding. Nobody is perfect, I surely am not. If the relationship or friendship is meant to stay, speaking up when you feel hurt will only grow it and not hinder it. You will know each other just a little better than before, and things you didn’t know were hurtful will be brought to light.
For your sake, their sake, and the sake of your relationships don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.