In Part 1 of this article we learned that healthy relationships depend on good communication. We discussed how sharing our feelings makes relationship problems easier. In Part 2, we will look at remembering how to reconnect with ourselves and to feel our feelings so that we can share them with others.

When we can connect with our feelings, especially the hurtful ones, we can lessen anxiety and relationship problems. Learning to communicate lovingly helps build healthy relationships.

We all know the feeling of butterflies in our stomachs… That is our body telling us something – so ‘re-learning’ is actually re-membering to connect to our feelings again.

  • This does require a re-connection to our bodies – which subtly (or loudly) feels everything that we experience in life.

  • We then need to take note of and trust what information our bodies are telling us. We may still think it all comes from our heads, but once we truly re-connect to ourselves – it does become obvious that the body feels things first.

  • To learn how to build this reconnection, see the links to this article.

While we are re-connecting back to ourselves and to our feelings, we need to have patience as we unfold back to trusting that our feelings are true and important. Slowly and gently, we can practice bringing these feelings into our relationships by learning how to communicate and express our feelings in a loving way.

Why is it good to express our feelings?

When we ignore, override, suppress or fail to express how or what we are feeling (even to ourselves) this becomes a habit and we suppress more and more information that our bodies are feeding us. This can cause a given up state of mood which can cause serious resentment because every part of our body can feel what is true for us and instead of being acknowledged it is being disregarded or ignored. Sometimes we blame the other for this resentment but it often comes from us ignoring ourselves first!

When we begin to feel that we are important enough to express what we are feeling - and to have that expression heard - our sense of self-worth and self-esteem goes up, naturally so. The energy we were using to keep down the resentment and frustration gets freed up and we get more energy for life! Once we feel confident to express our feelings without holding back, and are able to bring that to our relationships – it can greatly improve our quality of wellbeing and build healthy relationships.

Once we start truly listening to ourselves - and honouring what we are feeling - we can then look at preparing safe environments for our feelings to emerge. Then slowly, with practice, we can begin to bring these feelings into each relationship.

A start is to agree to try:

  • Coming from a loving perspective
  • Listening to and not interrupting the other person
  • Taking equal turns
  • Not to become defensive, and recognise when you do
  • To listen and not be reactive – not easy, but worth practising!
  • Not to annihilate each other
  • To speak about what you feel in your body
  • And – not feel you have to be perfect at this – it’s NEW!

You may have heard someone say (or said yourself) “there’s no point talking about it – we can’t fix it” But talking about it in a loving way with the above techniques is the first step towards ‘fixing’ it!

Often when we are able to talk about something between our partners, friends, family or colleagues (even heatedly or clumsily) and it ends in some kind of resolve – something does shift. What can shift is the awful resentment of being ignored – that we ignored ourselves, or we got ignored by the other person. Of course this goes both ways - we need to learn to listen to the other expressing their feelings as well.

Trust that in time it will become ordinary to express our feelings - and then it will start to happen naturally. We can then develop greater trust and intimacy, which is the beginning of having real love in healthy relationships and friendships.

Filed under

Healthy relationshipsHurtCommunicationFeelingsSelf-expressionRelationship problems

  • By Jean Gamble, Psychotherapist

    Jean works with individuals, couples, families, teenagers and children. She knows that when we move past our layers of protection from hurt and connect deeply with our innermost self we can have rich, satisfying and purposeful lives and relationships.