May 19, 2006, Newsletter Issue #102: Emotional Honesty

Tip of the Week

Can you talk with your partner about how you feel? If you're angry or sad, do you feel like you have to hide that from your partner? One of the hallmarks of lasting relationships is the ability to talk about emotions, and be honest even when you're uncomfortable.
The first step is acknowledging your real emotions to yourself. It's very common for people to channel uncomfortable emotions into "safe" paths -- blowing up at home because they're worried about work, or getting anxious and jealous over nothing because of old insecurities from a dysfunctional upbringing.

Develop the skill of describing your feelings in words. "I'm frustrated because of the traffic," "I'm happy because I got a raise," etc. This is about feelings, not thoughts. You might have a thought about why the traffic is backed up, but your feeling comes from inside you. Feelings aren't good or bad in themselves -- they just are.

The next step is to reach for these words in discussions with your partner.

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