When I was a child up until pretty recently actually, I never really expressed my emotions. I mean I could definitely feel the emotions but I never really showed it? For instance, I remember when I was about 7 years old, my grandma bought me this cute little pink pajama set from ‘Limited Too’ and I was beyond thrilled. Pretty sure kids who were as obsessed with ‘Limited Too’ as I was, would be jumping up & down with excitement. However, when I received the gift all I did was say thank you and maybe give a little smile. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate it, because I really did, but I just didn’t know how to express it.
“I’m fine” : A common phrase I would use, and I’m sure you’ve said it at some point in your life as well.
This was once my go-to response when someone would make me upset or angry rather than sharing my true feelings. Why was my first instinct to cover up my emotional pain from the person who hurt me?
Was it that I feared their possible emotional invalidation to what I had to say? Or maybe it was the fact that I was scared of being perceived as weak?
Ultimately, what I believe it all boiled down to was my issue with having control (this is an entire topic in and of itself for another day).
My thought process was that: although I had no control in the emotional pain they caused me, I could control my reaction to it. By telling them I was fine, I feel like it was almost an extra precautionary measure to help protect myself from getting hurt even more. If I were to instead share with them my emotional pain, I would’ve felt even more vulnerable.
Ah, sweet vulnerability… It’s exceptionally scary for me to convey vulnerability so as a result, I chose to conceal it.
I’ve learned though, that you start to build up resentment towards the person who hurt you because they most likely will continue to do or say the things that hurt you if you never told them how their actions/words made you feel. And you don’t want to hold onto any unnecessary bitterness or anger because clinging onto negative emotions just isn’t good for your overall wellbeing! This is why communication is key.
All of this is way easier said that done though. As much as I wish they could (or now that I think about it, maybe not actually…), people can’t read my mind. I completely know and have a full understanding that communication is extremely important (I like to preach this all of the time) but believe me, I still find myself struggling with expressing what I’m feeling at times. It’s just one of those habits that I still have to break, I guess…