I heard a voice so close to my ears “Are you tweeting??. I turn around to my husband and smiled, “Yes” then promptly closed my macbook.
What my husband really means is “I’m lonely here, give me some loving hugs”. You know, sometimes I can get really engrossed with my online activities that my husband has to remind me with these subtle hints. Being together for the past 35 years, I developed a fifth sense- the ability to be sensitive to his feelings and, to read his mind.
If Butch wants me to do the grocery, he doesn’t request me to do it. He asks “I didn’t finish the grocery today. Do you think you have time to do the grocery tomorrow?” which I know really means “Do it for me, please”.
If that were me, I’d be more direct. I’d actually request it: “I don’t have time to do the grocery, can you do it for me?”
My directness brought me a lot of marital rifts in the past maybe because I did not say it gently. With time, I learned to use his indirect language when I know it calls for “beating around the bush”. Perhaps his beating around the bush is his gentle truth. It really drives me crazy to beat around the bush but that’s how he works.
I grew up with a family that was very open with our communication. If we didn’t like something, we said what was on our mind. However, direct statements can hurt. I learned a technique that does not make my family members defensive whenever I utter an opinion. I start the sentence with “I feel _______” statements. With varied emotions, I can say…
I feel worried if you go home late at night, Lauren which is far better than “You should be home by midnight or else….you’re grounded”
I feel sad that you yelled at me” after an argument which works far better “You are such a loud-mouth! Shut up”.
Feelings are never wrong because you own it. It is okay to have and feel our feelings—all of them. Maybe in the past I shut down the emotional part of myself to survive certain situations. Sometimes we shut down the part of us that feels anger, sadness, fear, joy and love. Many of us lived in systems with people who refused to tolerate our emotions. In the past, I felt shamed or even reprimanded for expressing feelings, and these are by people who were taught to repress their own feelings.
Times have changed now. It is okay now for me to acknowledge and accept my emotions. I don’t allow emotions to control me and ruin my day, neither do I need to rigidly repress my feelings.
I feel safe around direct and honest people. They speak their minds and I know where I stand with them. Like I said, that was not the case in the early parts of my marriage as my husband beats around the bush in expressing his feelings. Indirect people, people who are afraid to say who they are, what they want and what they’re feeling is not a comfortable feeling. They will somehow act their truth even though they do not speak it. And it may catch everyone by surprise.
I do not need to be judgmental, tactless, blaming, or cruel when I speak my truths. I can say what we need to say. I can gently, but assertively, speak my mind.
Freedom is just a few words away.