Throughout my life, I have never been good with expressing my emotions. I either spill them out all over the place in a full meltdown or I suppress them and just sink into silence. I have always struggled with the in between. It is because of this struggle that I found myself on the mental health journey I once was in denial about, but now embrace.
I always pride myself on my ability to be so blunt and open about my feelings but in reality I am the furthest from the very person I present to the world. I genuinely care about how the things I feel or say make someone else feel to the point where I often put their very feelings over my own. Some would call this selfless but ultimately it just slowly destroyed me as an individual. I found myself agreeing to or being ok with things that in reality I knew I didn’t like but didn’t want to seem selfish or ungrateful for saying so.
My sister and brother often get on me about how easily I give in to our mother on things that I want to say “no” to. I’ve never been good at telling her that I really don’t like something and even if I did, I tend to backpedal and give in anyway because I know my mother doesn’t let up easily. So for me, it’s easier to just agree than to go back and forth with someone. This very trait seeps into my relationships romantically and friendship wise. I found myself doing the same thing at work with my bosses as well.
When I started this blog and decided to rebrand it to focus on my mental journey, I knew it would me require to have a level of authentic transparency that I had to be extremely comfortable with showing a more vulnerable side of myself than who people see and talk to everyday. To write today’s post I had to be comfortable in knowing that transparency is healthy and not something to be ashamed of.
In relationships we tend to always find the flaws in our partner but fail to acknowledge the flaws in ourselves as often. Here I was constantly getting on my partner about communication, but I wasn’t being fully honest myself. One random night we were driving to dinner when that all changed. He asked me the question that would make me say “enough is enough”. He looked at me from the driver side and said, “what about yourself do you wish you could go back and do different if given the opportunity?” I laughed at first and said, “nothing, I’m not the type to hold onto regrets” and then he just gave me his famous side eye he gives me when he knows I’m holding back. I hesitated at first but then I gave it some thought and I said to him, “I would be more honest and not just settle for agreeing to disagree. I would stand more confident in my position and feelings instead of always allowing people to just make me shut down”. He got quiet and then asked for examples. I wanted to make sure he knew it wasn’t all major things but little things like certain movies or restaurants I didn’t like but he did but I would watch or go eat there anyway. I told him, I do it with my friends all the time. I don’t want to come off controlling or selfish so I deflect by saying, “I mean it’s up to you, I’m not going to make this about me”. That one “it’s not about me line” was actually more damaging than beneficial but I couldn’t see that.
He looked at me and said, “well what are you going to do about it” and I said, “I’m done compromising”. I have not looked back since. I joked with him over dinner recently about how I can tell he’s not a fan of the more bluntly honest Gabby but I didn’t care because I felt better that things weighing on me I was getting off my chest. It felt good to stand in my position and not back down if so met objection. People always think that something major or traumatic has to lead to a mental break but it’s like that line where they talk about little lies adding up to be big lies. Little things eat up at people too just as must as the big things and eventually you can’t carry those little things anymore. I learned that disagreeing with someone or feeling differently than someone doesn’t make you selfish or a bad person. You can respectfully disagree and still communicate in a healthy way.
Have you had any life changing moments recently?