I sometimes have trouble expressing my thoughts and opinions…well, about my feelings at least. Yes, I know where I stand on abortion, women’s rights, the environment, transportation, etc. and in this town, you must be ready to debate quickly when called upon. I can sometimes put together logical arguments on these issues, however, I do not enjoy political debating. I like to listen in when others debate and throw in a question or two as if I were some sort of judge trying to be swayed one way or another.
Although I fumble for words, I can typically get my act together for jargony talk, though I’m much better with the written word. I struggle to find the right words in improv, too, and it seems I am having more and more trouble recalling basic day-to-day words. As Erin Clark and I like to joke, I have trouble with “my set of words.” When I get migraines, I really struggle. I remember once when I had a pretty severe migraine I could not remember the word for toothbrush. I was holding it and brushing my teeth with it, completely aware of what I was doing. I kept thinking, “what is the name of this thing in my hand?” It took me two minutes, the entire time I was brushing my teeth, to remember the word. That is a scary feeling.
Unrelated to the whole word recall situation, I have trouble expressing my feelings. Most often this is a result of not fully understanding my feelings. I have to think through things to sort them out. I am not sure why I struggle with this, but I have some theories that go back to being a people pleaser when I was a child. Well, that’s a post or three for another day. Point is, I struggle with it to this day. Being aware of this problem is part of the solution so I am constantly working on identifying my feelings, sorting and organizing them, them effectively communicating them. It is hard work, but I see progress.
This weekend I was tested three times:
- I failed the first test. I was angry and upset, I couldn’t figure out if I was upset at the situation or upset at something else, but I worked through it in my typical passive aggressive way. I snipped. Luckily, I have a chance to address it this evening like a big girl, so I will try to do that. I just hate confrontation, even if I know it will be better in the end. Update: a few minutes after I hit publish and before this person read the blog, we had our conversation, oddly initiated by the other person. I just took an opportunity of a cracked door and blew it wide open! I got out everything, everything I was thinking and feel much better. Thanks to the Universe for hearing my needs and answering them. Now I will give my self a passing grade for this test.
- The second test I mostly failed, though that is still in the works as well. The reaction I gave to some interesting news was not my true reaction, but I wasn’t sure what my true reaction was (work on the feeling first, then communicate the feeling). My initial thought is to make the other person feel better and support them in their telling me what they needed to get off their chest. I do that very, very well. But once I got to thinking about the news, I had to start to feel it. I took the opportunity to address it with someone else first (which was difficult, too) and not let it stew in my brain. I am still working through the feelings, and we’ll see if I decide if it needs to be communicated or not.
- The final test was hard, but I passed. I had something on my mind that needed to be expressed. I approached it and set a deadline. The conversation happened and I feel soooo much better. See, my stomach churns when I have things to say that people may or may not want to hear. I get worried that they won’t like me or they think I’m being mean. Again, I have no clue where this comes from, but it is. And I have to put on my big girl pants and figure it out. In this situation, I did that and it worked out. Hopefully this will happen over and over again and become a new habit, especially with this particular person.
As annoying as it is, I tend to like to be around people who initiate the tough conversations. Sometimes, the worst part is just knowing when to speak, so if someone opens with “how did you feel about ….?” then at least they have given me permission to speak freely rather than projecting my nice girl southern mask. But is this just enabling me? And even then, these questions get annoying if over used. I can imagine my mom reading this blog and during our next conversation she starts in on these questions!
Maybe I should try being on the receiving end of this? Do I start asking others how they feel about stuff and in return they’ll start to ask me? To have a friend is to be a friend, right?
Now that I know this is called Emotional Literacy, I will try to research the topic and get back to you. A fun project! and one that makes me a better person! As always, let me know your thoughts…