Simply Saying How You Feel

Anger, frustration, and disappointment are just a few challenging emotions we all experience from time to time. It is actually healthy to express these emotions because they allow us to see where we may not be in balance in some areas of our lives and they give us a heads-up when we are not honoring ourselves. As a friend of mine told me once, “It’s OK to be angry now. I’ll give you a day then you are going to have to express yourself, move on and transform that energy into a positive outcome.” That was great advice. It reminded me of when I was a child and able to express my outrage, come to terms with the person I was upset with, move on, continue to play whatever game we were in the middle of as happy as I could be and the infraction a far distant memory.

When did the process of expressing your feelings become as dramatic as a stage production of Phantom of the Opera?

When it comes to expressing our feelings some of us angst over what happened going over the situation a thousand times asking why, how, where, is it, what and if. Some of us get our feathers ruffled and immediately address the situation with a sledgehammer, knife or better yet throw a building at it. Some of us say nothing and seethe in anger and resentment anticipating that the other party will surely notice our silence and get it. And we have others who will go out and recruit extras to play by their side in the situation and act the lead role of the Phantom.

Where and when did we initially forget to or stop expressing our feelings in a productive and healing way? I think we can remember the exact moment. You may have decided to shut down, not want to be seen as vulnerable, didn’t feel safe, felt the world was against you, “knew” that “they” wouldn’t understand, felt ignored and your feelings didn’t count, were overwhelmed by a situation and circumstances, were too embarrassed, and/or felt resentful that anyone could hurt you. If you remember the moment, then you were probably over the age of four.

I watch my nephew Maxwell who will be three years old in just over a month. He does not, and I emphatically repeat, does not sensor his feelings. When he is happy his whole world is on cloud nine. He smiles laughs, hugs, kisses and is thoughtful. He says, “I love you! I miss you! Are you OK?” without a second thought. When he is upset with the world it’s, “You hurt my feelings! I don’t like that! That’s not nice! I’m mad! I’m sad! Apologize!” also without a second thought.

I think we were all like this at some point in our development. Some of us lived in an environment that encouraged expression and some of us didn’t. Some of us were taught we could be ourselves and it was OK and some of us didn’t have this lesson. Some of us were encouraged to be open about our thoughts and beliefs and some us were not.

The point is we all were given opportunities to be free to express ourselves early in our lives and knew our point of view was accepted by at least one person in our lives – a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, teacher, neighbor or kind stranger. It’s imperative for us to remember those moments of feeling heard, loved, appreciated and free and give this gift of expression back in ways that honor us and others.
How did you feel when you could feel vulnerable and safe? How did you feel when you felt the world understood you? How did you feel when you felt accepted? How did you feel when you felt you were loved no matter what you said or did?

Now, do you want to feel this way again? Do you want to feel respected, honored and listened to? Do you want to give that gift to others? Then, tap into that three year-old part of yourself and speak your truth clearly and gently with as little baggage and drama as possible and allow others to do the same. What a happier and transformation production it would be…maybe like a production of The Wiz!

Copyright © 2009 by Shirlyn Wright