There are times when the voices in my head can be really helpful! Recently I had a little situation where I decided to consult my inner wisdom or what I like to call, “My Girlfriend Voice or MGV for short” for a little advice.
Last Sunday, a friend hurt my feelings. There was no doubt that I was hurt but I couldn’t decide if I should I put a little space in between us or try to address the situation while the feelings were still fresh.
ME: My gut tells me to talk to my friend but I am worried that I may make the situation worse because my emotions may cloud my objectivity. I made a vow to myself to keep all of my relationships healthy so I feel the need to speak up. It’s confusing!
MGV: I am giving you the green light to talk now. Talk from the heart. Remember to use “I statements” and focus on how you feel. Breathe and make eye contact.
ME: (OK, here I go!) To my friend: “Tonight I was upset. When you did “X”, it made me feel “Y”. I know it is not your intention to hurt my feelings but I felt it was important to let you know while it was still fresh in our minds.”
ME: A yellow flag is flashing in my brain. Does your silence mean you didn’t hear me? Please, we are sitting eighteen inches apart. I pause. Ok, I’ll keep this simple and focused. I wonder if I should I reiterate what I just said?
MGV: AHEM. Slow down and proceed with caution. You may feel a little defensive and repeating yourself is not only unnecessary, it is really annoying. Relax. You have opened a dialogue. Sit tight. Take a breath. Stop pursing your lips.
ME: I don’t say this out loud but I don’t play poker for a good reason! OH? Did you just say OH? WTF? I was brilliantly articulate while emotionally charged. Sometimes it is not easy being me!!!
MGV: HOLY SMOKES. Take a breath. While your heart rate accelerates, you may lose sight of the importance of this moment. You have two choices:
- You can respond in a kind, compassionate manner. The past cannot be erased but perhaps you will help shape future behavior?
- You can react and do what you have countless times before, you can ARGULATE. (One of my favorite sources for information, Urban Dictionary, defines argulate as to argumentatively provide a hard-headed and ignorant fool the wisdom of your point of view; that which is undoubtedly right in every which way.)
ME: RESPOND OR REACT? Sounds familiar! I do try to follow my own advice but sometimes it is easier to do as I say and not as I do.
I turn to YOU and say lovingly, ...
For most of my adult life I did not want anyone to know that things weren’t rosy behind the white picket fence. I thought if I admitted my struggle, it was a negative reflection on my character. It meant I was weak, incompetent, lazy, and maybe even stupid. Pretty harsh words, huh?
I was acting a part. I was the perfect wife, mother, friend and professional. What I didn’t know was that if you play the same role for years, you begin to forget who you are. You drift further and further away from your true self and become a character from your imaginary life; just going through the motions.
Avoiding those feelings or then deciding not to seek help meant that I could tune out what I didn’t like——-shut off the critical voice. I didn’t have to hear how horrible I was, however, there was a big price to pay. There were days that I would BLOW without provocation. More often I would cry in the bathroom or in the car – that is where I could touch up my makeup so no one knew I had been upset. Put on a pretty face and carry on!
Last week I touched base with a friend who seemed different but I couldn’t put my finger on it. They asked me for advice on how I remain positive despite the many things I have on my plate. I truly am happy despite living in one of the most stressful times of my life. My secret? Once I started to admit I wasn’t “FINE” every time some asked me, I started to feel much better. It sounds simple because it is.
Now I don’t go on and on, in intimate detail every time someone chirps, “Hi, How are you today?” I am not obligated to say FINE. I’d rather to say something I am happy or grateful for. It shifts my thinking over to the positive side.
Let me interrupt this thought with an important reminder. Before you start giving anyone advice, ask them if they WANT YOUR advice and if they do, speak only from YOUR OWN experience—that is your truth. If not, zip your lip.
Why did I choose to check my emotions? What was I avoiding besides the critical voice?
I thought my friends would judge me when they knew I was struggling. THEY DIDN’T.
I thought I would have to justify or defend my decisions. NOPE.
I thought they would abandon me to avoid the drama. NOT A CHANCE.
I thought I may intensify or attract more of what I wanted to get rid of. This is something to pay attention to. If you feel stuck and you are repeating yourself, there may be another issue at play. I am talking about letting the words flow through you—looking for a release and ultimately resolution. Solid and stuck versus fluid and liberating— can you see where I am going?
Acknowledging what you are feeling allows you...