Being Direct

For a long time, when I was growing up and even when I became an adult, I just shoved down the way I felt even though I was miserable. I would get angry at the way I was treated by others or sad because of some reason or another and I’d just pretend it wasn’t happening. It would eat at me until I exploded. I’d get so angry that I would yell and scream and insult. It never ended well. I’m pretty sure I lost a few friendships that way. (Although the question remains if we were really good friends to begin with, if one fight could break us.)

Anyways, I finally realized the only way I’d feel better is if I talked about the way I was feeling. Then, it was up to the other person to work it out with me or decide not to be friends with me. It still sucked a lot of the times because usually the problem had arisen due our world views and ideals not aligning and that meant that it would be difficult to remain friends unless we wanted to argue or be annoyed all the time. It was better for both of us to walk away at that point. At least, we maintained our sanity and civility.

As I get closer to 40, I thought that most of the people I knew subscribed to this thought pattern. I realized recently that I was wrong. There are still a few non-confrontational people out there. And somehow, you could be doing something and never know it was happening because no one told you that you were doing it. It’s a difficult way to maintain friendships because it requires you to be perfect all the time.

I learned after having quite a few meltdowns and having a few spectacular blow out fights that it was better to be uncomfortable with someone for a few minutes but have a stronger friendship for it. I’d rather talk to someone about something even though, honestly, I dread it. I get nervous and anxious just thinking about being in that weird zone where we have to talk about our feelings. There’s the possibility that the discussion will end in a fight because you’re both arguing your point of view and no one is really listening. But there’s always the possibility that you both will figure it out and it will make you both better for it. I’ve had practice having these discussions with my husband because it’s impossible to have a happy relationship unless you’re both willing to discuss the important issues and listen honestly without getting defensive. I’ve been in the relationships where it was just attack and defend. Those aren’t any fun, trust me. You have to be able to admit that you might be at fault (even accidentally). Everyone is human. Everyone can make mistakes.

After the last few decades of my life, I also learned that it’s okay if not everyone likes you or even wants to be friends with you. My personal goal is to be honest with myself and and believe that I’m doing the best I can to love myself and to be a good person to everyone I know.

After that, whatever happens, happens.

Those People Who Know Everything

Do you know this person? This is the person that no matter what you’re talking about, they know everything about it. They know the best way to do something and they know what everyone likes all of the time. They know everything about everyone and they know what everyone feels as well and why they feel it. And if you ever correct them, they will find a way to argue their point or let you know exactly why you’re wrong.

I used to be one of them (and maybe I still am). When I was growing up, I had strong opinions. Well, maybe I still do, but I’ve learned over the years that not everyone shares them and that it’s my¬†opinion¬†and not fact. I used to argue about everything: why certain actors were the best, why the Lakers were better than any other NBA team, why what I liked made more sense than anything else. While I still maintain that I know which actors are the best and that the Lakers are the best NBA team, I also will admit that these are my views. I can also understand that other people have other opinions.

Everything is a point of view. And when we can’t understand someone else’s point of view, it makes us seem like we are know-it-alls. Just because you think you know something doesn’t make my point of view invalid. It just makes it different. And maybe we have different reasons on why we think the way we do. You aren’t doing yourself any favors if you are unwillingly to look at any other points of view. I remember when one of my friends told me while I was growing up that I was too argumentative. While I still believe in my opinions, I should have been more open to hearing other people out.

Opening up your mind to what other people think is a way to learn about things we don’t necessarily know about. It gives us the opportunity to see things in a whole new way. The next time you think you know something and someone disagrees or shares another point of view with you, try listening to their reasons why. It’s not going to hurt you to listen. In fact, you might just learn something new.