Finding the right words to express how you feel is never easy, especially if your feelings are hurt.
To express hurtful or painful emotions requires you to go outside your comfort zone. Being able to acknowledge painful emotions requires honesty, courage and most importantly, vulnerability.
Even if you weren’t taught how to express yourself or it wasn’t modeled to you as a child, you can learn. Even if you feel nothing you can possibly do will change the way you feel or the pain your holding inside, you can learn.
Here are specific steps to release your hurt and heal:
1. Take responsibility
No matter what you have experienced, you are in charge of how you feel. What I mean by this is, no one “makes” you feel anything. Even the most hurtful things require you to take responsibility for how you feel. Just taking ownership of your feelings will empower you.
2. Connect to your truth
You might be thinking, “Will my heart ever stop aching?” The answer is, yes. Your heart will stop aching when you listen to it.
I encourage you to sit quietly and connect to your heart. Your heart will tell you what you need. Your heart will tell you what you need to do. Your heart will tell you what your “truth” is. If you try this and don’t feel the guidance, try it another time. Guidance will happen when you least expect it.
3. Journal your hurt feelings
Often we can address issues and heal on our own. A simple exercise is to write in a journal the event that was hurtful, how it impacted you then (feelings, thoughts etc.) and how it still impacts you now.
Examples: “What I felt then is _____.” “What I feel now is _____,” “What I needed then is _____,” and “What I need now is _____.”
Remember to begin sentences with “I feel,” “I need,” etc. Just a simple “I” sentence will begin to connect you to your experience.
4. Express feelings to your partner
A few things you might be thinking at this point. “Should I express how I feel to my partner?” “Will it help or hurt to do so?”
It’s perfectly normal to be ambivalent about opening up. If you are feeling this way, try journaling first. Give it a few days or even a week and see how you feel. If you are still struggling with letting it go, it may be time to share how you feel.
Here is an example script on how to do so:
“I’ve been struggling with something that happened between us, and trying to find the words to express it. I know it’s something from a long time ago (fill in the blank), but it’s best for me to let you know how I feel. What I need from you is to listen. If you have something to say that’s fine too.”
5. Let it go
After you have acknowledged your feelings, first to yourself, and then to your partner, it is time to “let it go.” What I mean by this is, trust the process that is unfolding. Trust that the process will heal you in whatever way it needs to. Don’t do anything to control the outcome. Just trust it. It’s that simple.
6. Deal with your baggage
If you are at this step in the process, you might be thinking, “But, I still feel hurt, I still feel rejected, I still feel betrayed, I still feel (fill in the blank.)”
Often, the things that hurt us deeply are rooted in childhood wounds – wounds that we carry unconsciously into adulthood. These are the very wounds we haven’t dealt with or healed from.
Often, our adult relationships symbolize these very relationships and we unconsciously play out our original families (parent-child relationships) in our adult lives.
If you find yourself trying to seek validation or approval from anything or anyone outside you, you need to look inward, at yourself.
An example of this is. When you are expressing over and over again what you need to your partner or feeling repeatedly hurt that your partner isn’t listening or validating your needs or feelings; in this case, expressing your feelings to your partner is not the issue. The issue is much deeper. The issue is not him, it’s you. Look at it. Deal with it. Heal from it.
Our emotions are so precious. We feel them from an early age, innately and spontaneously. Over the years, the spontaneity dies and the openness fades. Painful events often bring them to the surface. Pay attention to how you feel. Listen to your heart. Remember, the truth will set you free.