Have you ever had a moment when you’ve really wanted to say something to your romantic partner, but something stops you? Maybe you’re afraid that what you have to say won’t be understood – or worse yet, it will be dismissed as unimportant.
Or perhaps what you need to say might hurt your partner’s feelings even though that’s not your intention…so you simply stuff it down until you feel more ready. Believe me, I understand!
There were countless times when I wanted to say something that was weighing heavy on my mind, but I always found an excuse to wait until “a better time”. And every time I did that, I undermined my own value and added more stress to an already stressful situation.
It took me many years and many tears before I changed this habit, and I’d like to share with you 5 simple steps that helped me do this:
- What do you need to say? Getting clear on what you need to say before you say it will help you communicate much more effectively. This is especially true when dealing with emotionally-charged situations. When feeling upset or hurt, it’s harder to get clear on how to communicate your feelings in a way that will be understood. And you want to be understood so that you and your partner can avoid the same situation that caused the hurt feelings in the first place, if possible.
- Why do you need to say it? I just gave one great reason for why you need to say it…so that your partner understands how you’re feeling about something that upset you. But there may be other reasons why you want to speak up about an issue, and it’s important to know those reasons. If it’s to express your frustration and get something off your chest so that you can feel better, consider another way of blowing off that steam before you talk with your partner, so that you can communicate clearly and calmly. Having an idea of your intended outcome for the conversation will help you better prepare for it.
- What’s stopped you from saying it before? If you’ve wanted to talk about the issue for a long time, but you’ve been putting it off, ask yourself what’s held you back? If it’s for the reasons I mentioned earlier – that you won’t be understood, you’ll be dismissed, or you’ll unintentionally hurt your partner’s feelings – what’s different now? If you still have those concerns, that underlying fear will affect the way you communicate, so it will be even more important to have the clarity and confidence to say what you need to say before you actually say it. If there are other reasons, have they been addressed? And do you feel confident about the conversation you need to have?
- What will happen if you continue to keep it to yourself? If the issue you need to address is painful, and you’ve been afraid of the potential outcome, it makes sense why you’ve been avoiding it. However, continuing to stuff it down will only worsen the pain. As scary as it may seem, if you want to take charge of your life and the health of your romantic relationship, the conversation will need to take place at some point…or you’ll just keep repeating the spin cycle of frustration. This is no way to live a life of quality, and you deserve better!
- Do you love yourself enough to ask for what you need in your relationship? For me, this was the biggest step of all! Until I learned to love myself as I am and accept all of my imperfections, I didn’t feel truly worthy of having everything I need in my romantic relationship. This is a big part of the reason why I kept putting off the dreaded conversations. Another key factor was that I didn’t want to hurt my partner, but I finally realized that I was already hurting him by not being completely honest with him. Failing to speak up about what needed to change meant I was hurting both of us.
These 5 steps are simple enough to understand, but not always easy to implement! In my experience, it took many painful lessons before I was able to effectively communicate with my partner about difficult issues that were affecting our relationship. And I had to be willing to accept what I was learning from these lessons…self-compassion, persistence, patience, etc.
There are still times when I struggle with these types of conversations, BUT I no longer avoid difficult issues by stuffing them down, and I do my best to embrace the opportunity for growth that inevitably comes when facing my own fears.
I want the same for you! Do you want the same for you? Are you ready to “grow up and become who you really are?”, as E.E. Cummings said. You already have the courage within you…perhaps it’s time you awaken it.
Next week, I’ll be asking you how you’ve been courageous in your relationship. And if you’re brave enough to share, I can’t wait to hear all about it!
Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
P.S. Want to learn how to feel more confident and courageous in the way you’re showing up in your relationship? Take advantage of your free Relationship Breakthrough Session, and gain the clarity, confidence and courage needed to move forward in a new course of action.