As I’ve shared on this blog, I’ve been in multiple toxic friendships.
I’ve lost all self-confidence from ages 15-18. I’ve had people get mad at me for expressing how I feel and how I think. When I went to college I slowly realized expressing myself is healthy, and it is okay. Real friends listen to us when we are hurting.
That being said, it’s very important we are aware of how we are speaking to each other. I think sometimes we are too focused on our feelings and not the person we are trying to communicate to.
There was a time earlier this year I was talking to someone and my comment upset them. We disagreed on the topic discussed, but I realized no matter how I tried to word what I wanted, this person was still hurt by it. I had to apologize. I did not intend for this person to be upset. This was a text exchange and voice tone is lost when we type. But regardless of what I thought and felt, this person was hurt.
That was evident.
Sometimes when we are hurt we can lash out or respond emotionally. Sometimes we and others say things that are not true. It can be easy to want to be tempted to argue and keep defending who is correct and for what reason. But all it leads to is more issues. Instead, it’s important to use phrases, “I feel,” and, “I think” to explain ourselves, not accuse.
When someone is upset it does not matter what we intended. A person having feelings is real. Our intentions do not take away how someone reacts. Our intentions do not justify us to dismiss someone’s feelings.
In those circumstances, apologies need to be made, and the issue needs to be properly discussed.
No, IF you are hurt, I apologize. I’ve heard that before, and admittedly I definitely have said it too. It’s like a weird mechanism we use to try to “stay clean” or innocent. We do not want to admit when someone is upset by our actions. The more “right” we feel we are, the harder it is to listen to someone. Or maybe we are not part of the direct issue, but we still were connected to it.
I know I struggle with this. Sometimes both parties are guilty in different ways. When people are hurt, they may not realize how they are guilty. But it takes strength to admit we are wrong, even when others are wrong too.
It’s hard to admit when we are wrong. All of these things I’ve been guilty of. In fact, because of my guilt, God has helped open my eyes to how I need and SHOULD handle situations.
This does not mean I always do it correctly especially when I’m upset. I’m still working on it.
Communication can fix a lot of problems. But it cannot happen only from one person. It is hard to open up because there is always a risk someone is going to be upset by our words.
But, I’m here to tell you, if someone is upset because we are expressing how we were hurt by something they’ve done or been a part of, it’s okay, and it’s natural. It does not mean a person is bad. It’s just hard to be on the receiving end. Sometimes it takes a while to soak in what someone is saying to us.
But whether you are hearing someone express their feelings to you or expressing your feelings to someone keep listening, keep being honest, and above all, keep trying!
Just don’t run. Don’t run from your feelings. Don’t run from the conversation even if awkward.
Awkward conversations lead to progress and both parties being heard correctly. It is hard to be vulnerable to express feelings. It is hard to hear someone say we have done something to hurt them. Neither one is easy and that is why it is important to treat both gently. If you are expressing yourself, try to be as kind as you can in explaining yourself. If you are listening, try to keep an open mind. Or give yourself some days to think about what a person is saying.
Growth can be made in hard situations.
I want to grow. I want to grow with others.
Even when it is hard and difficult.
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