By Rachel P.
It’s no secret that the foundation of a healthy relationship is open communication and willingness to look for a solution that works for both. If you are to accomplish that you both need to share your feelings and thoughts. No one expects you to be an expert in communicating, only to wish to become better at it, both in sharing and listening. We can all develop the skill to express emotions in a healthy way if we are dedicated to it. When you share your feelings and encourage your partner to do the same, it has numerous benefits for the relationship’s success and durability. Before we share tips on how to be more expressive in a relationship, let’s answer why you should even try to learn how to share emotions.
Ultimately, the goal is to be in a happy and healthy relationship with the person you feel is right for you. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic who believes in finding your soul mate (guilty!) or you simply want a partner to share your life with, the road to a deep and meaningful romantic connection is never linear. So once we have one, it’s natural to want to protect it.
Both women and men can shy away from sharing or think they are bad at expressing emotions. However, studies show that a slight gender difference exists with women being more emotionally expressive, in particular for positive emotions. Regardless of who in the relationship has difficulty expressing thoughts verbally, this topic should be addressed by both. Otherwise, a lack of intimacy and a sense of disconnectedness can set in and affect a couple’s relationship satisfaction.
When you share your feelings, thoughts, and emotions you allow the other person to get to know you, what you care about, and what matters to you. Although being vulnerable and welcoming brings a certain amount of emotional risk, the rewards are well worth it.
Emotions are neither good nor bad. We experience them because they have a purpose. If they didn’t have an evolutive purpose they wouldn’t exist. Emotions are not a tumor, you can’t cut them out and stop feeling altogether. If you want to deal with them better you need to see them as a natural response of your body to different situations. In order to manage emotions better, you need to ask yourself “why do I feel like this at this moment”? What is the trigger and what is at stake? You should know they hold a key to understanding yourself, your values, and your beliefs better. When you are happy they were validated, and when you are upset they were endangered or invalidated.
If you are trying to learn to communicate your inner world more, you must be wondering how to talk about your feelings. The more articulate you feel in talking about them, the easier it is to share your feelings. You feel more confident and in control. Thus, you are more likely to share your feelings. Start by describing the feeling – verbally or in writing. Whatever comes out is just fine. You are learning. The more you do this, the more proficient you become and it takes less time to understand what you are feeling. This is one of the keys to learning how to explain feelings to your partner. If you need more guidance on how to share your feelings, you can find a list of feeling words to use as inspiration. Working with a counselor is another way to improve emotional literacy.
When learning how to express your feelings you may worry that you might say something that you can’t take back. If this is one of your concerns, remember that feelings change. You can always rely on using phrases like “at this moment”, “it’s not always like this, but now I feel” as they can lift the weight of sharing from your shoulders. Realizing emotions come and go can bring relief. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share your feelings. On the contrary, it should make sharing easier because you know that it is about the present moment, and not let it color the entire relationship or person. No one opens up if they expect judgment. If you wonder how to become more articulate in expressing one’s thoughts, look for the answer in open-mindedness.
When either is sharing, try to avoid getting defensive or irritated. That can only impede future sharing. If it is easier, you can dedicate a corner of the house as a “judgment-free sharing space”.