Say what you feel
Shivi Verma finds that being candid with people helps her breathe easy as well as nurtures healthy relationships
One of the most important lessons that I have learnt at my guru’s feet is to express what I feel.
I must say that I have felt challenged in this department and still do to some extent. But I am also learning that doing it is a great way to move forward in life and get closures or breakthroughs.
Expressing ourselves as authentically as possible, ensures that misunderstandings, distances, and differences do not mar relationships or allow grudges to set in. So often, bottling up our feelings and not expressing them the right way makes us lose important connections and partnerships. Most of the time, we do not express ourselves for fear of getting hurt, laughed at, or ignored.
Although I admit that balanced communication is a skill which needs to be learnt, saying what you are feeling without throwing a fit or feeling embarrassed can save many situations. Expressing feelings requires a level of vulnerability and a lowering of one’s guard which is unfamiliar territory for most of us.
I remember, once, a disciple raised a question to my guru about feeling hurt by someone’s attitude. My guru asked him how he had reacted? He said, “I became cold towards him and stopped talking to him.” To this, my guru replied, “If you have felt hurt, you must convey to him that you have felt hurt.”
This brought to light my own issues regarding vulnerability. If ever I got hurt by someone, I would try my best not to show it as it would mean that they had power over me. Rather, I would often retaliate with hurtful words in order to get even or make them feel what I was feeling. I also had difficulty apologising if I found that my words had cut up someone. But I never expressed that I had felt hurt by the other’s caustic, angry, or sarcastic comments. Or if I liked someone, I would try my best not to show it and wait for them to take the risk of opening up to me first.
But as my spiritual work progressed, I realised that life was meant to be lived simply for us to be able to enjoy it in all its aspects. I realised that my heart and my inner voice spoke a language which was alien to my mind, which was always on the defensive. If something was left unsaid or unexpressed, heaviness would besiege my heart and drown me in sorrow and regret. Sadness would become my dominant emotion, and I would wonder how to make amends with those who mattered to me. Slowly, I realised that my job was to express the feeling in my heart in all its simplicity and naturalness. For it was the lodged energy of unexpressed emotion which was suffocating me, as I was not letting it flow. How the other person reacted or responded, simply did not fall into its scheme of things. I began to drum up courage and get over my fear of rebuff, insult, or rejection as I allowed my feelings to flow.
I often do not get a positive response from people when I open up to them. But this does not spoil my happiness of having said what was so important to me. My heart starts coming back to its buoyed state as I did what was important for my emotional health. However, in many cases, I have also seen that letting go of my ego has had some people rush back to me with greater warmth after I apologised or expressed that I have felt hurt by their words. It feels good to know that you are playing your part well on the stage of life. How others respond is totally their choice, and I have no problem with it.
Editor of Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately.
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