One of the most hurtful things a person can do is to deny another person’s feelings or pretend that they don’t exist or matter. This hurts us to the core of our being because at some point in our lives, many of us weren’t believed or were made to feel like our feelings weren’t important. The more your feelings are denied or be-littled, the more afraid you feel to share them. Afraid of the reaction from another and afraid of being blamed for “starting an argument”. Afraid of being made out to be “wrong” or “bad” in some way. This is shame. Shaming someone’s very real emotional experience is detrimental to our feeling of safety and well-being.
I want to tell Myself and all of you something.
YOUR FEELINGS ARE REAL AND THEY MATTER.
YOUR FEELINGS ARE NOT WRONG.
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR OWN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE.
YOU DESERVE TO BE HEARD AND LISTENED TO WITH OPENNESS AND CURIOSITY AND LOVE.
Isn’t this what we all crave after all? To be really seen and heard for our truth? To be understood at a deeper level? Sometimes I feel like I have to “prove” or justify my feelings – which then spills out into other areas of my life. Feeling like I continuously have to prove my worth affects how I love, how I work, how I lead and how I connect. This is not to say that I shouldn’t try. Effort is different from trying to prove your enoughness. Let me say that again. Effort is different from trying to prove your enoughness. If you are doing something because you genuinely want to support another person or work towards your goals this is effort. It won’t always be easy and you will still have to push yourself at times. But this effort is very different from doing things out of fear that you will not otherwise be accepted.
Try to remember this: when someone puts you down or shames you, it is not about you. It is a reflection of themselves and their own unresolved issues. It is their insecurities, their hidden feelings of anger or resentment sliding through. And it can be nasty. If someone diminishes your feelings, it is because they are uncomfortable with their own. You can’t be witness and hold safe space for someone else’s feelings unless you are able to do the same for yourself. Feel your feelings people…or they will get the best of you and spin out onto others. Stuffed hurt feelings create more hurt feelings. You can’t release your feelings until you have felt them. So don’t keep them captive. Don’t pretend your feelings don’t exist. That’s like pretending you don’t exist. Express your feelings in healthy ways – don’t let them run you on the sidelines.
Take a moment to think of how and when you may have dismissed someone else’s feelings. I know I have done it, and it’s a hard thing to admit. Most of us have done it at some point – or at many points. Stop the cycle of hurt and start listening to others with openness and with consideration.