Growing up, I was taught that action upon feeling was normal and maybe even healthy. All around me, there were people that lashed out or burst into tears at the slightest sort of stimuli. So, I thought this was the way things were supposed to be, the way I was supposed to be. If I was angry, I needed to yell and be really loud so that the person I was angry at would be able to understand how desperately upset I was. This can be a very dangerous mindset to have.
Communication has never been my forte. I can recall many occasions during which I could have saved myself a lot of time and heartache had I just talked calmly about the way I was feeling. For many years, I expected my friends and boyfriends to just pick up on how I was feeling. They never did. And that was not fair to, not just them, but most of all, to me. People governed the way that I felt, I was not in control of my own feelings. If someone acted aggressively toward me, I lashed out too, they were looking for a fight and I gave them what they wanted. If someone took advantage of me, I would allow them to do so, even at the cost of my own dignity.
I, by no means, believe that it is wrong to feel anger. We all have a right to our feelings. But, it’s what we do with it that counts. Of course, I know that it is much easier said than done, especially when your favorite person to argue with is coming at you with every word in the curse book. But, you need to realize that the person you are hurting the most, when you hand over that control to such an intimate part of you to someone else, is you. You lose yourself just a little bit more every time you decide that yelling, cursing, and hitting “feels” better than just taking a step back, blowing off some steam, and continuing the conversation in a peaceful and respectful manner. This is what sets us apart from the animal species, our ability to think, discern, and control our emotions.
I’m not here to give you a lecture about how childish it is to lash out every time someone cuts you off on the freeway, cuz trust me- we’ve all been there. But, I’m here because I want you to know that you are not alone and because you are better and stronger than that. If someone is treating you in a way you don’t like being treated, talk to them, you owe yourself that much, act like the respectable, poised person you know you are.
One thing that has been helping me to control my feelings is, as I mentioned before, extracting myself from the situation, there is nothing wrong in taking a breather, it’s better to take a moment to walk and think than to stay in a toxic environment where you already thinking about ways to put the other person down. There are so many ways to relieve yourself of stress and negativity everyday. Exercise, meditation, writing, art, all great ways to express your feelings. I know, it’s a battle, especially when you have been accustomed to acting a certain way for the majority of your life. But, I can guarantee you a million times over- the amount of respect you will gain for yourself as a person when you take that first step in taking charge of your feelings and most of all, what you do with them- it’s worth it.