This is my fourth attempt at writing this post. Hurricane preparations, no power from the hurricane and a dying router has interrupted a thought that I have had since my last post.
The funny thing is; the topic is about things that block us from fully experiencing joy. Being the not so patient person that I am, I’m feeling blocked right now by the small aggravations that have postponed my writing.
What I really wish to discuss are the deeper issues that block our ability to live fully and experience joy. I think everyone can relate to having said or not said something that left them with an empty feeling. Most often it has to do with a relationship– you hurt someone’s feelings but never made the effort to apologize; someone hurt you and you never addressed it with them. Any negative circumstance done by you or to you that isn’t addressed can leave you with a nagging or empty feeling.
As time passes, you may convince yourself that it is too late to address the issue. Either you believe the other person has forgotten it, or by ignoring the problem it has dissipated. Avoidance becomes your solution.
The truth is; avoidance does not take away the feeling left from hurting someone or being hurt. The feeling sits inside of you blocking energy and joy. You can push it aside but you can’t push it away.
There is only one way to make things better and that is:
Say it Out Loud.
By that I mean addressing the issue directly. The good news is it is never too late. The bad news is it is never easy. Most of us avoid conflict, fear rejection and hide from expressing negative feelings. If you can find the courage to do it, it will improve your quality of life.
A personal experience prompted this post. For six years I held in my feelings toward someone who had disappointed me when I was in great need of their support. It was during my toughest years in therapy. This person’s profession lent itself to reaching out, but for some reason he chose not to. Numerous times I thought of telling him how it made me feel, but never acted on my thoughts. I tried pretending that it really didn’t matter; I tried talking to other people about the situation hoping that would make a difference; I avoided seeing the person and buried my disappointment.
Six years is a long time. As a friend said to me, “If you haven’t forgotten about it in six years you need to do something about it.” She was right.
I made an appointment to meet with him. That morning I prayed that I would be fair, kind and strong enough to convey my feelings without feeling guilty. (Don’t forget; standing up for yourself isn’t a strong suit for survivors of abuse!) I was nervous, but managed to express exactly how I felt. I told him I needed for him to reach out and I was hurt when he didn’t.
Saying it out loud, directly to him, made a world of difference. I was immediately freed of any negative feelings towards this person. When I left that nagging feeling was gone and I felt lighter, happier. Of course I said to myself, “Why didn’t you do this years ago?!”
This is a lesson for all of us. Don’t avoid addressing the hard things in life. They are the things that drain our energy and keep us from fully enjoying life. It may take a push—like reading this blog post—but once you express your feelings you will feel energized and free. It is worth a few hours of nervousness. I know!
Please share in the comments if you have freed yourself of a burden that has been blocking you from living your best life. If you are deciding to take the chance—I wish you the best! Let me know how it goes, Roberta