It’s fun for me to learn new things about myself. Regardless of whether these things are pleasant or unpleasant, new is new, and I like new. It’s best that I write down the new things that I learn about myself to reflect upon later and grow from. I feel like questioning behaviors and looking at situations from all angles helps me grow as a person. So I did some of that this past weekend. What’d I learn this time? I’m not quite as laid-back as I appear to be. Not only do I appear to be more laid back than I am, I had convinced myself I was more laid back than I actually am. I wasn’t trying to be “laid-back” in some effort to be cool or something. I truly thought I was doing myself a favor by not making a big deal out of things that bothered me because I was “choosing my battles.”
In my eyes, it would have been foolish to point out something I had deemed “a minor issue” to a lover or friend and risk it turning into an argument when it “wasn’t really a big deal.” So I’d remain silent about it, the behavior would continue, I would grow annoyed or resentful, causing me to either disconnect from them with no explanation or it would slowly build up until I was ready to explode. By then things would be far worse than they would have been if I had said something the first time it happened. Yeah.
I’d let people be exactly who they were and would rarely (if ever) point out anything they did that bothered me until I had already reached my breaking point. Not only would this happen because the first time or two it happened I told myself it wasn’t a big enough deal to mention… BUT, (Here’s the part I just learned) it seems like I resisted pointing out things people I love did that bothered me because I saw doing so as telling them that whatever they were doing was “wrong.” I always viewed people who do that as being judgmental. I was cautious to never make anyone feel attacked. However, my silence clearly harmed relationships time and time again just as much as the behavior they were exhibiting without knowledge of how much it bothered me.
Since discovering this, I’ve come to realize that my method has not changed and neither has the outcome of most of my relationships. Me not immediately pointing out something that bothers me to the people I love the most only allows them to keep doing it and keeps me suffering. Eventually, I’ll grow so sick of it that things between us change for the worst. They won’t have a clue why, and I’ll feel so unreasonable for waiting so long to bring it up that things will never be the same again. That cannot keep happening. Thankfully I realized this in time to formulate a new approach.
From now on, when someone I love does something that really bothers me (whether it’s a nickname they use for me, the fact that they litter, or anything else no matter how “big” or “small”) I’m going to politely tell them that it hurts my feelings, makes me uncomfortable, makes me feel bad, or any other adjective that lets them know that there’s a problem. I cannot be silent anymore. They can’t change something that they aren’t aware of. They may not change their behavior after I tell them, but at least I will have told them how much it bothers me. If they can’t respect my feelings enough to take my feelings into consideration I will actually feel validated when I stop talking to them, dump them, or cut them out of my life. Maybe I won’t seem as laid back anymore, but with practice, I think my relationships will blossom in a new way because I will be more open with my feelings, and that will allow much more happiness in.