Usually, when something bothers me, irritates or hurts, I say it immediately. Expressing this discomfort helps me to get rid of it, or at least in part. On the contrary, if I don’t speak, I end up feeling doubly bothered.
Obviously, not all the people react the same way. Some prefer to remain silent. But the point is that the best time to indicate that something is bothering you is right now. If you wait it may be too late, and you'll end up recriminating yourself for what you didn’t say or do, getting you into a vicious circle of thoughts that hurts.
Why is it so important to immediately express our discomfort?
- Because no one should make us feel bad. If someone exceeds our limits and makes us feel bad, we shouldn’t allow him to continue. In fact, as son as we approach it the better is, so to not throw more “fuel on the fire” of negative emotions. Remember that no one can hurt you without your consent, so don’t give it to him.
- Because it is important to exercise our rights. We all have certain basic rights that others shouldn’t breach. If a person ignores us for no reason, behaves aggressively or humiliates us, we have the right to stop him.
- Because is the fastest way to solve a problem. An old saying says that “when the donkey falls is beaten with a stick”. When we indicate a behavior that bothers us, the question usually doesn’t assumes bigger proportions, everything is resolved and that's it. On the contrary, if we remain silent, but outraged, we will continue to carry the issue with us.
Remember, everything that bothers us and we keep silent grows within us. If in a relationship we swallow a bitter pill after another, anger and frustration will eventually explode in the most inopportune moment and will make us say or do things that we’ll regret.
The ability to assert yourself without hurting others
Assertiveness is a skill that allows us establish ourselves without harming others. When we’re assertive we defend our rights and express what we feel without hurting the feelings of the people around us. It means we defend our own space respecting the space of others.
The problem is that when something bothers us we get quickly irritated, angry or frustrated. Then we let emotions speak for us, and claiming our rights, we end up attacking the others. Instead of self-affirm ourselves we end up attacking, and that's not the goal.
For this reason, when something bothers, irritates or hurts us, we should try to be as much assertive as possible. Take a step back, metaphorically speaking, and try to disconnect from your emotions, trying to turn yourself into an outside observer. Only then you can express what you don’t like.
For example you might say “I don’t like you to scream, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I think we will understand better each other if you lower the voice”. This way you don’t only express your discomfort, but also offer a solution.
When you act with equanimity the other person realizes that exceeded certain limits. In fact, it is likely that he did it accidentally. But if you get irritated and raise your voice, you only get the situation to deteriorate rapidly.
5 rules to express what bothers you
1. Use expressions that highlight how you feel, like, “I want...”, “I like...” or “I feel...”. This way you’re able to establish a deeper emotional connection with the other person. For example, instead of saying “I'm tired to hear you screaming”, you can say, “I don’t like you to scream to me, when you do it I feel bad”.
2. Recognize the positive aspects of your partner. It doesen’t mean you always have to praise him, but you can highlight his positive qualities, so to turn him more receptive to the message. For example, you can say “Normally you're very quiet, but now you're screaming…”
3. Do not use reproaches, irony or contempt. If you want others to respect your rights it is necessary you respect theirs. This means that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Don’t use humiliation, recrimination and sarcasm to hurt your partner. These are low blows that would not make you a better person and do not lead anywhere.
4. Be concise. Many people are afraid of losing the approval of others, so they end up going around the point without reaching a solution. If something bothers, worries or makes you anxious, make it clear immediately. Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. In fact, it is better be direct to not give rise to misunderstandings. For example, instead of saying “you always act like a…” you can be more specific saying “it bothers me that you scream”. Remember, you don’t have to attack the person, but underline a behavior or attitude that you don’t like.
5. Provide a solution. We often express how we feel, but we’re unable to see a way out, then we enter a dead end. In fact, we should consider that probably our interlocutor feels too overwhelmed or frustrated. So whenever we indicate something that disturbs us, it would be appropriate to propose a solution and indicate another way of doing things. For example, you could say “I don’t like you to scream. I suggest we go out for a walk and talk quietly”.
Tell what bothers us, when it bothers us and not waiting until it's too lateJennifer Delgado