I am really good at not telling people how I feel until it’s too late, until it no longer matters or things are no longer in a position of changing. I am really good at that.
What happens is that my frustrations and pain boil, telling everyone but the person(s) causing these emotions. I cry about it to friends, scribble in my journal and write passive aggressive blog posts, but rarely get to the point of actually discussing it with the parties involved. Sometimes, I work up enough courage to confront that person, and it has always, always, blown up in my face.
Scenes from these encounters run through my mind like a horror film. I initiate the conversation, claiming I was hurt and wronged. Usually, I am flustered and can’t clearly explain what I mean, so my statements come out accusatory. The person immediately becomes defensive, throwing my faults and imperfections in my face. It ends with me crying and the other person saying “I am sorry, but I am not sorry.”
As I say goodbye to all of my social networks and connections, I made a conscious decision to say only goodbye, to just sweep my emotional buildup under the rug and for once let it be. I decided that it’s best not to tell someone how you feel.
Today, I received the most remarkable email from a truly talented, wonderful individual. He wanted to say goodbye, and in doing so, gave examples of how I inspired him. He created a list of things that I taught him, the last one being “it’s always a good idea to let someone know how you really feel about them.”
But he isn’t the only one who’s felt the need to share his or her feelings about me with me. So many friends have sent emails, Facebook messages and cards saying what I mean to them and how I’ve impacted their life. I can’t put into words what a blessing this and how it’s changed my attitude in the last few days.
It’s really OK to tell people how you feel, but I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been focusing on those that don’t matter, instead of those that do. I tell people how they hurt me instead of how they inspire me and that’s a backwards way to live. As I keep learning in the last few days, the people that matter will always be the ones to put the smile back on your face. And it’s time a I tell them so.