As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a very nice person. That causes some people to believe that I’m an easy target for malicious behavior and crazy talkings-to. However, they always learn the error of their ways, because I’ve been taught to always speak up for and defend myself. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that keeping things in can cause people to snap, say things that they regret, or act out in anger. All that can lead to burning bridges with people. However, as I’ve learned to speak up, I still have problems communicating during the times I feel like I need to the most.
I love my family and friends, so when they do something to hurt me, I tend to not say anything. Hoping that the pain will fade, and that I’ll be able to forget what just happened, I sometimes find myself suffering in silence. I’ll remind myself that I’m not perfect, and I’ve hurt others, or that I should pick and choose my battles to protect the important relationships in my life. So I would stuff my feelings down, and try to ignore them to keep the peace. I realized that I did that to protect their feelings; however, I wasn’t caring about my own. I love my family, but their solution to unpleasant incidents in life is to “just let it go.” Now, I’m all for “letting things go,” but you shouldn’t ignore your feelings. If you’re feeling hurt, feel that. If you’re feeling sad, it’s okay to feel sad. Don’t ignore your feelings, but don’t stew in them.
Telling people to “just get over it,” can sometimes come off as extremely passive, dismissive, and honestly selfish. It comes off as I don’t want to deal with you or your feelings, so just get over it. Especially when people are able to unload their grievances on you, about you, but won’t allow you a chance to say how you feel (“Just let it go!”)
Just “letting go” of the situation, and not addressing it when you feel that it is hurting you can cause you to lash out verbally to make that perpetrator of hurt, feel the same pain you’ve been feeling, or more. You find that when you finally do address a problem, you’re not exploding about the issue that just happened, but you’re exploding from all of the past incidences that you’ve ignored, feelings of pain that you’ve shrouded in denial, and anger that has been stewing internally.
It reminds me of a story that an aunt once told me: A father took his little boy, who had a history of saying hurtful things to people, to the backyard. He handed his son a piece of wood and some nails. He instructed his son that for the next week that whenever he was angry and wanted to say something hurtful, to go outside, grab his nails and a hammer and hammer a new nail into his chunk of wood. A week passed and the boy and his father went to examine the wood. After they both removed all the nails the father showed his son all of the holes. ”You see how that even after you remove the nails how the holes are still there? That’s how it is when you say hurtful things to people. You hammer a new nail in, and even after you apologize by pulling it out, you’re still leaving a hole there.”
I’m saying all of this to tell you that before you get to the point of wanting to “hammer a nail into some wood,” don’t suffer in silence. Express your feelings before they get out of hand and you’re blowing up. Now, I’m not saying that every little issue needs to be dissected and discussed, but if it’s something that’s causing you inner turmoil, try to address it in a non-confrontational way. If the person that you want to address is closed off to communication, do something that will help you express yourself. Whether you have to write a letter to them and not send it, just write it down to get it all out, do a kick boxing course to get that aggression out, or do something creative, the important thing is to embrace how you feel. Don’t be ashamed or let anyone make you ashamed for having feelings. You have feelings for a reason, just don’t hide from them.
Now, if you’re a person who is, like the wood, full of holes because of the hurtful things that people have said or done to you, know that there is healing for those wounds. If the balm is addressing each wound, then do it. If the balm is counseling, seek it. Remember that you are important, especially the feelings that you feel. By just ignoring them you are keeping yourself captive to the tumultuous things in your past. So please, don’t suffer in silence, and let it blow! Once you do that, then you can finally be able to “just let it go!”
Kendra Koger has been removing nails and trying to avoid nailing them in the first place. Follow her on twitter @kkoger.