44. Finding The Courage To Express Your Feelings

Finding the Courage to Express Your Feelings

In this module about living authentically, you previously learned some strategies for revealing your true personality. This lesson helps you find the courage to express your true feelings as well.

Life is full of situations where it can be difficult to say what we really think but silence sometimes comes at a high cost.

In a recent article in the British newspaper The Guardian, a nurse reported that failing to express our true emotions is one of the most common deathbed regrets.

Read on to discover the major benefits of speaking your mind and constructive ways to get started.

Benefits of Expressing Your Emotions

1.   Lead a fuller life. Dare to take on difficult issues. You’ll learn more about yourself, your loved ones and the world around you. Taking on more challenges will help you discover your true potential.

2.   Become more authentic. If you habitually suppress your true feelings, you may become unfamiliar with them yourself. Get to know the real you and accept yourself for who you are.

3.   Banish your fears. Fear and anxiety build up when we try to shelter ourselves from difficult truths rather than facing them directly. When you see yourself successfully negotiating a disagreement with your boss, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities.

4.   Improve your relationships. Clearing the air promptly can keep resentments from building up. Ask your spouse to share in more of the housework rather than feeling like a martyr.

5.   Liberate others. Courage is contagious. Your willingness to be direct and honest makes it easier for others to do the same.

Techniques for Expressing Your Emotions

1.   Clarify your intentions. Everyone benefits when we devote ourselves to promoting the common good. It beats worrying about being comfortable or universally popular.

2.   Consider the risks involved. There may still be situations in which you need to choose restraint. Maybe you have valid concerns about an office policy but know that your supervisor is unlikely to be receptive to suggestions.

3.   Take accountability for your own emotions. State your feelings in a way that avoids putting the blame on others. Recognize that your unpleasant feelings have more to do with your mindset rather than external events.

4.   Start out small. It’s okay to proceed gradually. Talk with your best friend about how her showing up late for appointments affects you. Soon you’ll be able to approach people who may be less directly concerned with your well being.

5.   Practice regularly. Like any skill, open communications improve the more you practice. Notice daily opportunities to speak up so you’ll be in shape when more difficult conflicts come along.

6.   Remain tactful. Even when you need to confront difficult truths, you can pick a setting and language that will make the message more palatable. If tempers are already flaring, give yourselves time to calm down and speak privately. Try making requests rather than demanding changes.

7.   Respect other’s boundaries. Just because you’ve decided to become more forthright, other people may still have different priorities. Unless someone’s welfare is in serious danger, be sensitive to the topics they may prefer to leave untouched.

8.   Listen intentionally. On the other hand, you may find that others welcome the opportunity to be candid. Give people your full attention. Show that you’re attuned to their concerns. If you feel overwhelmed by what you’re hearing, ask for time to reflect before continuing the discussion.

9.   Share good news too. Sometimes we shy away from pleasant feelings as well as the unpleasant ones. Get in the habit of handing out more compliments. Let people know how their kind acts improve your life and how much you care about them.

If you want to live life to the fullest, get in touch with your true feelings and bring them out into the open. You’ll enrich your own experiences and empower those around you to do the same.

In living authentically, it’s important to be honest with others and yourself, too. The next lesson shares some tips about presenting yourself honestly.

Here’s what you need to do today:

Start out small and share good news too. Today, share your good feelings and give out at least 5 sincere compliments.

How to be More Open and Share Your Feelings

There are some people that have no trouble sharing their feelings. They are devoid of the fear and anxiety that most of us feel about sharing something personal or potentially controversial. Down deep, you're jealous of these people. Openness provides a level of freedom that eludes those that are more private. It's important to be able to share your feelings and concerns openly.

Your concerns can't be addressed if you're unwilling to share them. You have to face your challenges alone if you keep them to yourself.

Share your feelings and enjoy the resulting freedom it provides:

1. Be more accepting of others. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you're afraid to share your feelings, you may be judgmental of others. Naturally, you would expect others to judge you, too. It's impossible to accurately judge others. There's always more going on than you realize. Be accepting of others and you'll expect others to be accepting of you.

2. Start small. Share something small, but relevant. Once you see that you can share your feelings without negative repercussions, you'll be more likely to share them again.

3. Determine the source of your fear. You may fear judging, rejection, ridicule, or embarrassment. Perhaps attacking that fear is the first logical step to lessening your anxiety around sharing and openness.

4. Be brave. There's no way to be 100% comfortable about sharing your feelings until you've done it several times. There's a certain amount of courage required at the beginning. Be brave enough to share your feelings. It becomes easier over time.

5. Encourage others to share their feelings with you. You might feel more comfortable if your conversation partner goes first. 

6. Stay in the present moment. You generate feelings of fear by worrying about the possible outcomes. Stay in the moment, and your fear will dissipate. Avoid imagining the worst possible outcome.

7. Calibrate the other person. Others are often careless when they believe something doesn't matter. You'll find that others are more empathetic and understanding if you let them know that something is important to you. It can be as simple as, "I want to tell you about something that's important to me." Put others in the proper state of mind before you share.

8. Be honest. The willingness to make yourself vulnerable will enhance your results. If you're sharing something that displeases you about the other person, it's important to empathize first. Sharing your feelings requires consideration of the other person's feelings, too.

9. Take a deep breath and just do it. The anticipation is usually worse than the actual event. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. You can do it. Focus on how much better you'll feel afterwards.

Change isn't easy. Sharing can be scary, but the benefits outweigh the anxiety experienced. In time, you'll learn to share your feelings and worries more easily. It just takes practice. Focus on the benefits you'll receive and let the words flow. The other person will appreciate your effort and you'll find that you get what you want more often.

AFFIRMATIONS

Expressing my true feelings comes easily for me.

Revealing my genuine feelings to others seems to be the best way to go in life. After all, others can only know how I feel when I express my emotions in ways they can hear and comprehend. 

Also, it is important to me to share the truth about what I am going through because I want others to understand me. I find that nobody knows "the real me" unless I openly express how I feel to others.

When I experience positive emotions, it is easy to share them with others. Feelings like joy, contentment, excitement, pleasure, and optimism are emotions that I think others are interested in hearing about. And it makes me happy to share these feelings each day. 

Although it can be difficult for others to listen to me speak about less positive feelings, like disappointment, sorrow, and sadness, I recognize it is necessary for me to inform them of my current state of mind. So, I use care and appropriate tone of voice to convey feelings of this nature.  

Ultimately, others can feel better about our relationship when I show honesty and diplomacy in expressing my less positive emotions.

Today, I vow to keep others apprised of my feelings. Expressing my feelings ensures I remain connected to people in genuinely helpful ways. I value my ability to communicate my emotions to others. I strive to be a reliable, caring friend as well as an open, honest co-worker. Communicating my feelings openly is very important to me. 

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. Do I honestly express my feelings?

2. How do I share my true emotions with others? Is it easy or difficult for me to do so?

3. What steps can I take to ensure I freely express my feelings to others?

AFFIRMATIONS

I feel free to express myself openly.

One of my greatest gifts is my ability to express myself openly. Although many find it challenging, I find that it is easy to let others know my thoughts and ideas.

I have many great friendships because of my openness. People trust me and find me interesting. My openness serves as an inspiration to them. It helps them see how comfortable communicating can be.

It is liberating to be free of a need to censor myself. The best parts of me are free to come out. Freely communicating my thoughts and feelings allows others to get to know the "real" me and strengthens our bonds of love or friendship.

Being able to express myself openly is an exciting way to live. It is also very peaceful. I carry this feeling of peace everywhere I go, like a suit of armor.

When I feel myself becoming self-conscious, I remember that I only have to impress myself. I know I am worthy of others' attention and have positive things to say. I can be confident that what I have to say will be received well. 

Today, I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts, feelings, and ideas. People are drawn to me because of this. I am comfortable in my own skin. I show others they can be comfortable, too.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. How much freedom do I feel to be open with people?

2. In what situations do I feel stifled or constricted?

3. What can I do to express myself more openly?