I felt I needed to do something right there and then. I felt choked. The pressure was building up everyday. It was a struggle. I needed to leave.
Some things weren't working out with someone who I am very close to. There was tremendous mutual respect, but some things were uncomfortable for me. I did not know how to approach them, and I wasn't being able to completely let go of it in my head.
After some experiments I found that there are only five possible solutions when we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation in a relationship:
- Write down your feelings. Write down "I wish they would..." and "I wish they wouldn't". Analyse and boil it down to one or two things that really upset you. Writing down seems awkward but has always worked brilliantly for me.
- Accept what is acceptable, and then don't hold any grudges. Some things are a part of a persons nature, and very difficult to change. It makes sense to let go. But beware, if the acceptance is not complete, it strikes back with a vengeance.
- Tell the other person how you feel and what is bothering you. I prefer to work through step 1 and 2 before getting here. Communicate gracefully and honestly. Plan what you wish to say, but speak from your heart. Allow emotion to flow if it has to. But, speak only with the intention of sharing how you feel. Say what you like and what you don't like. Leave it to them to decide if they wish to change something. In respecting them, you will find self respect.
- Talk to someone who will listen to you with empathy. Who you speak to is a very important choice. They should be anchored to 'peace'. I am blessed to have a few such people in my life. Sometimes step 3 does not work and this step become crucial to release the pressure. Then, go back to step 1!
- Drop the relationship. Remember, this is the last option, unless it's a matter of character or ethics. The drop should be done with grace and a peaceful heart. Hold on to the good memories and the good qualities of the other in your heart. What's the point of holding on to the unpleasant?
In order to make any of the above ideas work, what is a must is a deep sense of empathy. Empathy is the drive to understand why people are behaving they way they are.
Empathy makes me feels empowered. Empathy expands my my mind and makes me feel responsible beyond the boundary defined by my skin. In doing so it liberates me from my own negative feelings.
So next time you feel choked up in a relationship, first create empathy, and then run through these five points step by step!