Talking about your emotions is so much more than a simple one-time conversation. You could think of it as an unrolling of a well-used tape, each piece relating to a different level of emotion.
But why is it so hard to open up?
Here are 5 reasons that many people may think but have not really felt in reality:
- Your ego says, ‘what makes you so special that I have to share this with you.
- Your fear of not being heard.
- You don’t know how to use your emotions healthily.
- You can’t admit that you have an issue.
- You don’t think it’s true.
The ego-type statement
‘What makes you so special that I have to share this with you?’
Maybe you have heard this before.
- What if I told you that you are special?
- What if I told you that you have a unique opportunity to impact people around you?
- What if I told you that you are stronger than you can imagine?
- What if I told you that you could do all of this and more if you allow yourself to be vulnerable?
But that’s the thing, all of those things might be true. But it still comes down to the ego. I’ll save that for another time.
But the point is, you have a lot to share if only you could share it with the right people. The danger is, what if you think your words are not good enough? What if you think they’ll not be heard?
If this is you, here is what you can do about it
Become aware of your tendency to protect your ego
I’m so glad you made it here to start reading, and if you’re still reading this, then I’m guessing you want to do something with this.
What I mean by “protection” is, you get the feeling that your words or your thoughts are not worthy of being shared. And the reason you think this way is because you have subconsciously picked up on what I said earlier, and it is a choice you are making to be the way you are.
You feel scared to share your thoughts or express any emotion because your ego says, ‘what makes you so special that I have to share this with you?’
Your ego gets to decide because it says that your opinion or experience is not as important as someone else’s.
So, what do you do about this?
Notice that you feel nervous and defensive. You see that you want to cover up your true self, and you try to persuade people not to hear what you have to say.
This is a sign that you feel that your thoughts are not good enough.
Before you can start to share your emotions and have any chance of sharing them healthily, you need to call your ego’s bluff and realize that your ideas are of value and deserving of attention and respect.
If you want to open up emotionally, you have to let go of the idea of what is good enough for you. You have to let go of your ego.
And what’s interesting is that this is not an easy process because, to get there, you’ll need to step outside of your comfort zone and be brave enough to say what you feel and what you need to say.
It’s time to pick up your gauntlet. You need to put your emotions out there, even if they feel scary and foreign.
Choose the people you want to open up to
There are two types of people who can benefit from your insight:
- Those you want to share it with
- Those who can benefit from it, if they can understand what you’re saying
If you can only share with those who want to share it with you, and not those who can benefit from it, your communication will be stunted, and your vulnerability will be buried deep within you.
Let’s say you think your ideas are valuable, but nobody wants to hear you out because they do not see a need to listen to you. Well, this is a reality we all face.
Your ideas will not be valued if you do not tell them.
So the question is: Who do you want to share your ideas with?
I can bet that the people you want to share your ideas with are the people who can benefit from them.
You want to tell your family and friends about your ideas so that they can use them to improve their lives.
You want to share them with your colleagues at work so that they can enhance their skills.
You want to open up to your health care practitioner to get on track with a solution that addresses your issue.
But before you do this, you have to choose the people you want to share with to avoid burnout.
When you have made your decision, you need to identify two other questions:
What can you share in a way that you are comfortable with? What should you keep quiet?
It is not enough to be comfortable with sharing.
What’s the worst that can happen? Nothing.
And if you can do it, you will be free to move forward and learn more about yourself.
Let go of the need to be right
Many of you probably know that we are often not very good at listening and responding, and that’s because we think we know what’s best.
Sometimes, we cannot listen to what other people are saying, and when we do, it is because we are still feeling emotional hurt, even if the other person is speaking in a normal tone of voice.
Think of this as emotional body language:
If you listen to someone speak and make eye contact with you, you know that they tell you the truth. But if they turn their head away or look straight ahead, it is because they are trying to hide the truth from you.
When you suppress your feelings and become stubborn about a problem, you push away the very people who can help you.
- Why are you avoiding hearing someone else?
- What is stopping you from listening and responding?
The reason we are so uncomfortable with this is that we don’t want to hear the truth. We don’t want to feel vulnerable. And when we feel vulnerable, we feel the need to express ourselves, even if we aren’t sure we’re ready.
This is one of the reasons we need to let go of our need to be right. When we start to let go of our need to be right, we will listen without inhibitions.