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Feelings About Feelings

How To Protect Someone Else's Feelings Without Ignoring Your Own~ originally published on tamuinc.com

Picture this: You are out to dinner with a group of people enjoying good food and light conversation. You hear someone say something offensive about and to someone you care about.  You find it strange that no one at the table responded, but you don’t either. You decide to “just let it go.” Months later, you find yourself talking about the situation. Surprise! You didn’t “just let it go.”

How many times have you said or thought or heard someone else say, “I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings” or “I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to cause a scene”. Meanwhile, as you “protect” the other person’s feelings or the scene, you are feeling uneasy and uncomfortable.  You start to allow your own hurt to harp on you; you walk away carrying the stench. You attempt to make yourself feel better about not asserting yourself. You try to make yourself feel better about not allowing yourself to be heard. How you feel about something is how you feel. Sharing your perspective is based on your experience.  If someone takes issue with this, then let it be their issue.

This isn’t about having a back and forth debate to the point of being unproductive. That is what we call “tit for tat.” They said something so I must respond.  That would be the same as talking just to hear yourself talk! Having a debate isn’t even the point here. Being assertive enough to express your perspective and voicing what you need isn’t a debate at all.

We’re not talking about hurting someone’s feeling by saying some disrespectful, ignorant shit. We don’t need to make an ignorant list; we know what goes on that list! I’m not talking about being an asshole. I’m talking about being assertive. I ’m talking about having the confidence to voice your perspective and expressing your feelings. Protecting someone’s feelings doesn’t mean ignoring your own. When you take care of your feelings, you take care of yourself.

Cheers!

~Tamu

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