In my life, I’m noticing a constant theme: I want relationships in my world to change but I’m not always communicating the way I feel to help improve those relationships.

Typically, I am the type of person that I hold in a lot of what I’m feeling in the moment.  I coach myself into thinking I need time to investigate the various thoughts and feelings in the moment and then address things once I’ve had time to review.  Now having collected my thoughts and composure, maybe days or weeks later, I can go back and address the situation.

There are two problems with this approach:

  1. Waiting days, weeks, or months later, the event has passed and details of the situation are forgotten.
  2. Sometimes I don’t readdress the situation at all which leads to more pent up feelings and emotions the next time the situation or similar event occurs.

What I am beginning to notice is that the people who are more direct about how they feel in the moment are considered harsh, rude, or disrespectful.  Depending on the context, this could be true.  However, in most cases where I have witnessed these situations, the person is just standing up and defending their opinion.  I’ve also noticed that although this person may not be well received the first time they’ve irritated someone, over time they seem to gain a certain level of respect.  The benefit is that you know exactly where they stand and there is no pondering what they could be thinking.  You already know!  Not only does this benefit you, I believe it also benefits them.  They are not walking away from the conversation saying, “I wish I would have said…”

From articles I’ve read and experiences I have had, I worry too much about how others are going to perceive me, so I hold back.  What I have come to realize is that those people who I hold back from are the very same people that have no problem saying what they feel in the heat of the moment.  I’d like to think everyone follows the golden rule of “treating others the way you would like to be treated”, but I know that’s not the case.  I also believe it’s true that “you hurt the ones you love.”  Sometimes it’s not about being hurtful, but it’s more about being truthful and honest.  I think I can respect someone more for being truthful and honest even if I don’t like what they have to say.

I do not want to change the person I am.  I do however want to improve my interactions with people.  I want them to know where I stand and not leave them having to assume I meant one thing versus another.  I can be more direct and forward about what is on my mind, knowing I can do it in a respectful way.  I can’t expect things to always go the way I plan, others can still be offended, but I have to feel better about walking away from a situation or conversation by not leaving them guessing what “I meant” to say.

Relationships are probably one of the toughest aspects of life.  I’m definitely not an expert on them, I haven’t always made the changes I’d like to in order to help benefit my relationships, but through my life experiences, I’m becoming more aware.  I won’t make any promises at this point to being more direct in hopes of improving my relationships until I have had more time to experience its affects.  As situations and conversations present themselves, I have to be mindful of how I’d like that conversation to end and what it means for the relationship moving forward.