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Getting in touch with your feelings helps you to understand yourself. And sharing your feelings helps others to understand you better.
Being understood and accepted are universal human needs. So, when you share your inner experiences and feelings, you’re more likely to connect in deep and meaningful ways. You’re also more likely to get your needs met, leading to happier and healthier relationships.
Sharing your feelings can be a daunting proposition. When you share your feelings you allow yourself to be vulnerable. This vulnerability can be scary; it leaves your open to the possibility of being hurt, but it can also lead to the deepest connections.
There’s no way to completely avoid the risk of being misunderstood, ignored, or judged when you share your feelings. However, using the strategies below can help you communicate effectively so that you’re more likely to be understood and validated.
Sharon Martin is an emotional wellness speaker, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Her San Jose based practice specializes in helping over-stressed, high achieving adults and teens learn to embrace their imperfections and grow happiness. Her personal journey of overcoming perfectionism and people-pleasing traits, inspired her passion for this work. Sharon is the author of Setting Boundaries Without Guilt: A Workbook to Move You From Doormat to Empowerment. Sharon also enjoys teaching blogging and writing classes for therapists.
Editor: Arman Ahmed
#1 Understand your feelings
Before you can express your feelings, you have to know what they are. For most people, it helps to have some quiet time to reflect. Our busy, noisy lives don’t lend themselves to connecting with our feelings. Try taking ten minutes per day for the sole purpose of contemplating your feelings. I find going for a walk helps me get clarity, but you can experiment with sitting in different places, simply thinking or writing down your thoughts. Try to identify your feelings, remembering that you can have more than one feeling at once. Explore what’s been happening in your life that may be related to your feelings.
After you understand your feelings, you can figure out what you want/need and this can be communicated. Here’s an example: Ryan identified that he feels angry in response to his girlfriend working late every night for the last week. When he thought about it some more, he discovered that he’s also feeling neglected and lonely. This clarity helped him decide to share that he’s feeling angry and lonely and ask his girlfriend to spend more time with him.
#2 Be discerning about who you share with
Your feelings are intimate parts of yourself; they shouldn’t be shared with just anyone. Proceed slowly and begin by sharing feelings that feel safer and less vulnerable. If they are received well, share a little bit more and so on.