Why is anger the first emotion we go to when our feelings get hurt? I've done this my entire life. Anger is my cover up emotion for how I'm really feeling deep down. Instead of just taking a moment to pause and decide how I'm feeling, I pretend it doesn't matter and put up walls so I don't have to feel. I escape from being hurt by putting on a facade that I'm pissed. And I know the world doesn't need more people walking around angry and pissed off. The world needs more people being brave, bold, and speaking up.
Maybe it's because we don't want people to see our vulnerability. Our true self. We don't want to tell them what they did or said really hurt our feelings because having that conversation opens us up to feeling the feelings. I don't know about you, but when I go down that path the flood gates open and I really hate crying! Crying is exhausting. I used to think crying showed weakness when in reality the strongest people I know cry and the weakest say nothing. It's easier to pretend I don't care or shut myself off from that person. The problem with that is when we walk around bruised and wounded and eventually those hurts build up into scars. Year after year they get thicker, harder, and more callused.
When we let a callus grow we lose feeling in that area and it becomes numb. If you let a wound grow shut without cleaning it, it will become infected under the surface. It may not happen right away, but eventually the wound will reopen and it will be a lot more painful to deal with later. You will have to reopen and heal something that wanted to be healed so long ago and now there will be other layers that have built up on top of it that you will have to go through.
Instead, what if we did something totally child like? We didn't allow the scab to form. We didn't run and get the Band-Aid. We used our words. I'm always telling my five year old daughter to use her words but I don't always practice what I preach. What if we took a moment to say, "What you did or said really hurt me." The person might not respond the way you wish they would, but at least you didn't let a scar develop. When we are real, raw, and naive like a child that's a lot better then acting like an adult and putting on a cold front. I don't know about you but this is hard for me to do! But I'm willing to try because I don't want to grow old hardened and callused just because I wasn't brave enough to speak up.
Not every little thing needs to be hashed out. Look at children for example. There are many times throughout the day when they get there toes stepped on by other kids and they let it roll off and forget about it. But when something gets too close to the core, the heart is worth speaking up for. That's when we need to say something so we can release it. Those are the things that build up over time. It changes us, ruins relationships, reshapes who we are and how we perceive the world. So the next time you feel that uncomfortable lump in your throat and the tears welling up in your eyes, don't dismiss them and wipe them away. Let them come to the surface and do what they were meant to do. It might be painful temporarily, but long term you will feel so much lighter than carrying it around in silence.
It takes courage to tell someone how you feel, but the real courage shows up when you forgive them. If we can say what's on our heart, we can release it from our chest and set it free. And the truth always sets you free! Here is to the sweet release of speaking your truth and getting things out in the open so you can forgive, heal, and continue living with an open heart.