One of the most helpful and effective things you can do in a relationship is to address how you feel. We live in a world where we are almost forced to mask how we really feel. Whether it is in the workplace or at school, we are expected to hold ourselves together in a way that is acceptable to everyone else. But how does that affect you? How does that affect the people you’re close to?

We need to start getting in the practice of knowing what we feel and expressing it, without shame or fear of judgement. We are so conditioned to hold things in that we put ourselves in a compromising situation (we’re like a sponge, we can only hold so much in at a given time) as well as present our partners with a riddle we are forcing them to solve on their own.

When we are happy, don’t we want people to know we’re happy? So why wouldn’t we want people to understand when we are hurt? Lonely? Disappointed. When we are in a relationship, these emotions must be brought to light to be able to move forward or take the next step. We all know it’s impossible to stay 100% ecstatic about life all day every day, so we might as well be honest about what takes us away from that level.

When you address how you feel and communicate just that, you are opening a window to your partner. All of a sudden, they know why you lashed out or why you shut down. In turn, when feelings are being share with you, don’t discount them. Even if you don’t think that you were being defensive or degrading or whatever it may be, this is the feeling that your partner has. They owned that they were feeling hurt or betrayed, so you need to own what you did to get them there.

Feelings are powerful and they are an even more powerful tool. Don’t neglect the effect that they can have on the health of your relationship.

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