Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hey! What's on Your Mind

" I just don't know why he doesn't get it. Why can't he understand the way I feel? "
"Well, have you told him how you feel?"
Long pause with disgusted look.
"Then why do you expect him to know how you feel if you don't tell him?" as usual having an answer but not necessarily doing it myself...hmmm as my own light bulb went off. I had an ah ha moment!
I remember this conversation vividly 30 years ago as my girlfriend and I sat in the car discussing why husbands can't or don't always seem to meet our need of the moment. It's hard to believe this was actually the solution to the "devastating" problem, but it was as simple as just sharing her thoughts with him. And believe it or not it was an ah ha moment. I guess we really believed our husbands should know how and why we feel the way we do and  be able to magically make it better and intuitively have the solution.
Now that I say that maybe that comes from the intuitive mom with eyes in back of her head. She seemed to know everything! Even the things you didn't want her to know. Was I expecting that gift to transfer to my new live in partner?
Transitioning into marriage and not realizing you just ventured into a journey of learning about a whole new way of life apart from every familiar path you came from,  knowing that mom or dad will not be there to figure things out for you AND that you just might have to hit a few bumps to get yourself into some kind of living momentum with this person can seem like an endless SAT exam.
Some of the most important lessons I've learned... (blog post)
Number 1
No one knows what you are thinking so don't expect them to know. Express yourself about how you are feeling and what you are expecting.
Now mind you I've learned  there is an art to this. You just can't spew all over every time you think someone should be listening to you. But you do have to realize that each person is unique and individual with their own perceptions of life. This can sometimes be challenging to get your point across. But if you don't try you will give that person an opportunity to come up with a perception that could be totally false. And that my friend can make you feel misunderstood, disappointed or hurt and many times cause you to slip into the bubble bath of self-pity.
I've watched my grown children and their spouses dance around issues because one or the other won't say what they really mean. Its called pleasing. The notion is.... I want to do this right. I don't want them to think --fill in the blank--about me. It's the beginner dance that is out of beat and stepping on toes. And we do it in all areas of our life...not just our marriages.
Once we get the steps down we begin to pretend we have the beat, but reality states that even moving together can  hide our true thoughts behind the beautiful ballroom mask. Over time the mask starts to slowly slip down revealing bits and pieces of our true identity.When alas! The true face comes into full view!
Things can really start to change. Yikes! And it ain't always pretty:(
So I learn to use "I" messages instead of "you always". I express myself knowing that not all people will agree with me all of the time and some of the people will some of the time. I get it that I am not always right and  there are several ways to do the same thing. Speaking out just gives an opportunity to say "you know now how I feel and what I need. Can you help?" or "what are your thoughts on that?" I learn to deal with my feelings of rejection when someone still doesn't go where I want them to. And my feelings of fear that someone might reject my opinions or ideas. I've even learned to keep my mouth shut after I have expressed my view if it doesn't bring life to a situation. O dear, I sound like I have this all figured out and I do this perfectly. Nope. I've just learned  that I matter and what I say matters. I am still learning too.
 Can I really give all the pros and cons of expressing yourself  in a nutshell of a blog? No. Life has a way of teaching each of us as if we were His only child.
All I know is that you may end up with an appliance instead of roses if you don't talk! Even Facebook wants to know "What's on your mind!"
Book resource "TrueFaced" by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch

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