Recently I’ve experienced something incredibly important that I wanted to share on my blog this week. I haven’t had an easy relationship with some members of my family. This has caused so much pain, anger, resentment, sadness and guilt in my life. The feelings I had when I was around them were almost unbearable. It was like trying to swallow nails. I had to constantly shove my hurt feelings down as deep as I could and smile. The lid of the jar that I was keeping my feelings so tight on started to seep out, as they always do.
I thought I had it under control. I thought I was fooling them with my fake smile. But it became increasingly obvious that I didn’t. The anger and resentment was seeping through and taking a huge toll on our relationship. This in turn make me feel guilty and sad.
Finally they had enough and asked me what was wrong. This was a huge moment for me. I could have continued to deny my feelings or I could have a real honest, painful, uncomfortable conversation and lay it all on the table. This was honestly a life changing moment for me. I’ve only experienced this one other time where I confronted and forgave someone who did some pretty terrible things to me. The moment that it happened I felt so incredibly free. All of that pain and anger subsided and it was left with this feeling of euphoria. The weight that had been weighing heavily on me for so long suddenly disappeared.
I knew that we needed to have this conversation with them, but I was scared shitless. Most times when I’ve tried to talk about how I had been feeling, I was met with anger and defensiveness, so I gave up for a long time and just tried to deal with it. Clearly I wasn’t dealing with it very well.
But these moments are turning points for relationships. The moment where you decide to be brave, honest and tell the truth are the moments where relationships change forever. I was absolutely terrified, but as soon as I started talking I felt an instant calmness. I desperately needed to tell them how I was feeling and I don’t think I realized just how badly I needed to do it. Their reaction (although thankfully mine was well received) doesn’t matter. You need to do this for you and you only.
What I learned from this experience is you need to tell your truth, no matter what. Keeping those feelings bottled up inside only hurts you and causes resentment in your relationships. Being honest, even when it’s tough, is one of the bravest, most courageous things you can do. And you have no idea how it will turn out. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome and all of this time I was too afraid to say how I was really feeling because of what their reaction would be. But I really feel in my heart this was a turning point for us. I feel like going forward our relationship is only going to get stronger.
It’s not easy and it’s going to be painful, but after it’s over there is no other high like it. Taking off the chains that are holding you back is the most freeing feeling. You literally feel like you can do anything.
So be real. Do yourself a favor and have those honest, tough conversations. It might be painful in that moment, but like Brené Brown says, “Would you rather 3 minutes of being uncomfortable or 3 years of resentment?”