So if one of your New Years Resolutions was to take better care of yourself might I suggest something to help in this endeavour from the inside out? I propose this be the year of acknowledging and respecting that you are a valuable, significant, and worthwhile person and as such your thoughts and feelings matter. Now, to start putting some of that money where our mouths are I’m going to share a list of the Top 5 Things that Keep Us From Expressing Our Feelings. The goal is that bringing our awareness to some of these things will help us create some self-respecting changes for our better. Without further ado then,

The Top 5 Things that Keep Us From Expressing Our Feelings

1. The Fear of Conflict: you are afraid of feeling angry or having any type of confrontation with others. You might even believe that people in good relationships never fight or argue. You might also feel that the loved one wouldn’t be able to handle how you are feeling or might reject you and stop talking to you.

*Yes, it’s true, not everyone likes confrontation, but if handled with sensitivity and respect and by using “I statements,” issues can often be worked through and the relationship will likely become even closer.

2. Emotional Perfectionism: You believe that if you are a half decent person you are not entitled to have feelings like anger, jealousy, sadness, or anxiety. You think you should always keep it together and be in total control of your emotions. You are terrified of having others find out you have weaknesses and vulnerabilities just like them.

*This one is a personal favourite because of how liberating it is to actually allow oneself to experience ones emotions (while also being responsible and respectful with what we do with them, of course.)

3. The Fear of Rejection: You are so afraid of the unlikely possibility that telling someone how you feel will cause you to be rejected and alone that you constantly swallow your feelings and even put up with others treating you poorly just to avoid the chance of someone getting upset with you. You feel an intense need to please everyone and meet all of their expectations no matter the cost to you. You are afraid that others won’t like you if you express your own ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

*In fact, this too can be very counter productive because when we don’t ever tell others how we feel when we feel we’ve felt wronged we tend to build up silent anger and resentment which can create emotional barriers.

4. Passive Aggression: You pout and hold on to your hurt and angry feelings instead of expressing them openly and honestly. You do things and make little comments to try and make others feel guilty instead of owning your feelings and sharing them responsibly.

*This can also damage the relationship by causing frustration and anger from both sides because of subtle manipulative behaviours and guilt trips.

5. Hopelessness: You convince yourself that the relationship cannot change no matter what you do, so you give up altogether. You may feel the other person is way too stubborn and insensitive to change.

*This then creates a self-fulfilling prophesy whereby you stop trying and things get stuck and don’t change, thus proving that things really are hopeless.

There you have them. To be honest, there are actually 10, but there is quite a bit packed in to each one so I decided to just give 5 this time and the other 5 the next.