Why You’re Scared to Tell Them How You FeelNov 27, 2021
I had been texting Lee for days on end, apologizing for my oversite. Apologizing for not realizing how much I meant to him. But how could I have known, he never told me. However, the situation was dire and there was no time for ego, I had inadvertently hurt someone I deeply cared about and he hadn’t responded to any of my messages for two weeks. As time went on fear of losing him intensified as I became more aware of how immensely I cared for him, I realized I loved him. I wished I had known how he felt, I would have done so many things differently but in that moment, I decided I needed to do something bold and brave. Fueled and motivated by my desire to finally come together in an intimate relationship with my friend, I was going to tell him how much I loved him, I was going tell him of this vision I had always had for us, I was going to pour my heart out and not let fear stand in my way. So there I was, typing and squeezing every raw emotion of love into an email as if I was wringing the water out of a piece of cloth to quench the thirst of a man lost in the desert…every…last…drop…
Five days past. I was unshakably astute to the price my vulnerability cost me. The pain was intense and unbearable. I became a zombie struggling to handle menial daily tasks. My children became concerned, I couldn’t hold a casual conversation. I had been rejected. While I can honestly say there was a beautiful awakening in this “dark night of the soul” experience, the transformation it birthed within me was only possible by having made such an emotional sacrifice. But why was being rejected so devastating? Why was it so brutal to overcome? How come was it so debilitating? Why did it hurt so dam bad?
That answer is very simple and the truth has been unveiled in neuroscience. The brain cannot distinguish the difference between emotional pain and physical pain. In both situations the brain employs a cascade of responses beginning with an opioid chemical release in an attempt to help numb the pain. A family therapist once told me that the brain cannot tell if you’ve been stabbed in the head or rejected. While that is a gruesome analogy, it does paint a very clear and vivid picture as to why we have become petrified of rejection, it hurts. It also explains the importance of healing emotional pain. Healing requires conscious work and effort.
So what’s the answer? Do we avoid vulnerability at all cost so we never get hurt? No. I would say avoiding vulnerability is a guaranteed way to always be unfulfilled and in some form of pain whether it’s lack or straight up misery. The basketball player who never takes the shot out of fear is guaranteed to never score. Think about every marriage that wouldn’t have happened, family that didn’t exist, had someone not popped the question. Living in fear is not the answer and a pitiful existence in my opinion. There’s a strong element of spiritual and personal development in every relationship experience. Believing that what is truly for you will stay and what is not, will leave or disintegrate. Appreciating relationships and people for their valuable lessons and letting go, not holding onto anyone who is unwilling to reciprocate your love.
I look back at that experience with Lee and still have no regrets of pouring my heart out. Aside from the gift I received, which is another story for a later time, I can’t imagine not having taken the risk on emotional fulfillment with someone I had such a profound love for. I’m always flabbergasted at how people go all in in financial investments with risky portfolios and yet hedge their personal relationships with backup plans and 50% effort and wonder why they’re not profiting. Relationships require equal give and take with 100% of effort from both parties. You cannot expect to receive that which you refuse to give. That said, my advice to you is when you meet someone who has the character and traits you’re looking for, invest with a full and open heart. Be fearless, be vulnerable, let them know how you feel. Take the risk with the perspective that if this is meant to be, they’ll reciprocate and if not, they weren’t your person. What ever you do, once you have the green light, go all in! Again, it amazes me how many people inside of relationships are plagued with this same fear of emotional pain and inadvertently create that which they are trying to avoid due to unresolved emotional wounds. What you focus on grows and what you resist persists. Focusing on past atrocities and strategically behaving in a manor to guard your heart is a recipe for loneliness and heartache. Stop creating unnecessary barriers and road blocks by withholding emotionally. Our actions are driven by our emotions and when you are holding onto every injustice you’ve experienced, you plant those same seeds of doubt in your new relationship. Let go! Instead chose, love. Chose to trust that you will reap what you sow. So sow wisely!
There’s another reason why I’m proud of the fact I shared my heart with Lee, I was unwaveringly fearless. My favorite quality in a person, outside of having integrity, is being direct. I’ve always found a partner’s ability to be direct with me early on in dating very attractive. I don’t want to guess about their intentions or feel confused about how they feel about me by sending me mixed signals. I love a man who has the confidence to provide upfront communication about his emotions around me and his intentions in pursuing me. That is very attractive. I respect a man’s ability to be brave enough to be vulnerable and speak the truth of his heart. I have to believe that most people not only appreciate that level of clarity, but it also serves as both a moral booster for the relationship and a giant love deposit for the other person.
If you’re still struggling to trust in new relationships or with unresolved emotional issues and would like some tips on healing, subscribe to my blog and I’ll email you my guide, “Healing the Past”. You can also schedule a FREE discovery call to find out how the VibeWHOLE-VibeWELL-VibeHIGH programs can transform your life and relationships or contact me at [email protected]
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