There was a season in which I valued other people’s feelings but selfishly bottled up my own. My thoughts lingered, hidden just beneath the surface of my consciousness. They accumulated on an over-crowded shelf while waiting for the perfect opportunity to make an appearance. I wasn’t aware that I had a voice, or that it even mattered. I didn’t yet know what I didn’t know and was literally being eaten alive by what I didn’t say.
The dry humor in this is while I thought my feelings were safely tucked away, it was a sham. They developed a mind of their own and fought back, refusing to be placed in a corner, punished for their existence. Like a rebellious child, they reared their ugly head at inappropriate times and joined conversations in which they didn’t belong. Learning from experience that drama would always ride in on their coattails, I developed a plan of action.
1. When upset, I need to surmise who or what the real issue is (sometimes that just might be me), and then act accordingly. That’s not always easy to figure out so often I have to often take a few minutes to reflect and retrace my steps.
2. My next step is to evaluate if something really NEEDS to be said and if I need to be the one to say it. This is especially important in the workplace for me. Sometimes something needs to be said (sometimes it doesn’t no matter how much my feelings are hurt), but it is received differently if it comes from someone else (took a few years to learn that one!!!).
While there are still times that I keep my thoughts to myself because it is appropriate (timing is everything), life is less stressful today because my feelings are no longer bottled up.