Effective communication is difficult. And it is even more difficult when it comes to communicating our feelings to others; a topic that we are often taught is not worthy of another person’s attention. But we also know that the repression of negative feelings can have deleterious effects on our mental health and as well as our physical health. Moreover, we know that effective communication is key to any healthy relationship. And while most people would agree with this, it is also important that we do not corner the first unsuspecting person we come across and unload our feelings onto them. Therefore, we need to learn how to express our feelings in a healthier way. Storytelling your feelings will become easier if you adhere to the following tips:

  1. Your feelings are worthy

Before you start storytelling your feelings to others, it is important for you to believe that they are worthy of communicating. If you do not actually believe this, you will probably have a difficult time talking about them forthrightly. Believe that your feelings are valid and important! You might not like the way you feel, but you probably can’t help it. Often, the problem is not the feelings you have, but how you respond to them. Therefore, learning to express them in a healthy way is critically important, and it starts with you believing that they are worthy of expressing.

  1. Understand your feelings

Now that you have made peace with the fact that it is okay for you to have feelings, and that those feelings are earnest, it is now time to understand them. “So, how are you feeling today?” – typically, when we are asked this question, our automatic response is, “Good”, or “Hmm, not so great.” If you truly want to clearly express your feelings, you will have to be a bit more introspective about your feelings. Do you feel angry, annoyed, jealous, happy, sad, grateful, loved, scared, or appreciative? You must label that feeling(s), so others can understand you better. You might need some quiet time by yourself to reflect; and this is okay (and a good practice). Going for a walk can be helpful, so is writing down your feelings. Over time, you will discover which practice works best for you, and remember that you can have more than one feeling at a time. Once you understand how you feel and have given it a name, it becomes easier for you to figure out what you want and/or need, and then express that effectively.

  1. You are responsible for your own feelings

This might not be pleasing to read, but it would be remiss to omit it. You need to accept the fact that you are responsible for your own feelings. Yes, people and situations can influence how you feel. Yes, it might not be your fault that you feel this way. But at the end of the day, it is your responsibility to deal with those feelings and figure out how you are going to respond to them. Keep in mind that you might not get what you want or deserve, no matter how well you express those feelings, simply because you cannot control other people.

  1. Express your feelings clearly

You now know your feelings are worthy, you have understood them and realized that they are your responsibility. You are now ready to express them, but you need to do that at the right time and place. Is that important? Yes, it is! You don’t want to talk about your feelings to someone who is tired, busy, sleepy or distracted; that will not be in your best interest. Approach the person when s/he is willing and able to give you their full and undivided attention. You could also schedule a meeting in advance to make sure both of you are available at a predetermined day or time. Once that is achieved, you can talk about your feelings clearly and openly, while avoiding blame, and even offering possible solutions if warranted. Remember that effective communication also includes you listening to the other person attentively. Even though you are expressing “your” feelings, this is not just about you.

Practicing these tips regularly; will ensure that it becomes much easier to express your feelings in a healthy way. This will greatly improve the quality of your relationships.

Categories: Storytelling

28 Comments

Adaego M. Azi · June 18, 2020 at 10:39 pm

duppydomTEAM – I like these tips. I swear, sometimes I have the most difficult time talking to my boyfriend. I tell myself that it’s because he is the “artist” type, but I know I am making an excuse for him. Don’t get me wrong, we get along, it’s just sometimes I don’t think he understands my emotions. I’m thinking maybe it’s the understanding my emotions part that is the problem. Maybe I should do a better job explaining how I am feeling….okay. Thank you, duppydomTEAM

    duppydomTEAM · June 19, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Adaego, we appreciate your comments. It’s noble that you are recognizing your part in the communication issues between you and your boyfriend. And you are right, most of us understand what feelings are by name, so perhaps labeling your feelings, would give him a better idea about what you speak of. Lastly, try telling your boyfriend exactly what you are referring to in this comment – for example, “Tom (?), I don’t think you are understanding what I am feeling. I say this because…..” This way, you are discussing the “misunderstanding of feelings” (not the feelings themselves), and he might not feel like you are attacking him. Good luck 😊

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:46 am

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S. Jakes · June 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm

duppydomTEAM – I don’t think I know anyone who I would call an exceptionally effective communicator. Everyone has their problems. My problem is that I get flustered when someone is not understanding me, which makes it even worse. I never really thought about this topic from the feelings perspective before. I read the other article about owning up to your emotions – man, that makes sense. But it’s kind of hard to swallow that when we have pain and distress, it’s really due to our own thinking. Loved this article. Thanks, duppydomTEAM 👏

    duppydomTEAM · June 19, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    S. Jakes – thank you. You are correct; to some degree, all of us could improve our communication skills. And it’s interesting that even the most effective communicators can have issues communicating with certain people and in certain situations 🤷‍♂️ The Grohol article is very interesting – the bottom line – our feelings and emotions reflect what we focus on. Therefore, if we want to change our feelings and emotions, we need to change our thinking process, what we focus on, and/or our mindset. Said another say, “we are responsible for our own feelings.” 😁

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:47 am

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    Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:47 am

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D’Gauntlett · June 19, 2020 at 12:28 am

Lack of communication between partners and even friends is one of the biggest complaints. It always amazes me when marriages breakdown and one person would say I spent 10 with him and we barely talked. She didn’t know me because we never talked that much. Or the relationship broke down and I have no clue why, we didn’t talk about any problems. We must express ourselves, people are not mind readers, our feelings, good or bad needs to be heard. There is something beautiful about a good conversation between individuals who can truly make their points of view and listens to the other person as well. I am aware there are some people who have much difficulty engaging in conversations because they are afraid of being criticized which is sad.

    duppydomTEAM · June 19, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    It’s unfortunate that couples can spend so much time together, and still not know each other. And it’s even more unfortunate that this lack of awareness of each other’s feelings and emotions can lead to the end of the relationship. People will always feel slighted 😕 if they sense that their feelings and/or emotions are not be heard or attended to. Therefore, it is imperative that people (particularly those in committed relationships); talk to each (without critique or blame), listen to each other, and improve their communication skills, if conversations always lead to an impasse or anger.

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:48 am

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Lisa Steffler · June 19, 2020 at 3:22 am

Anyone who is married, should read this article. Over the years, my husband and I have gotten into some verbal arguments. The last one was a real doozy. I would say every one of them escalated because of some of the things mentioned in the article. Here’s one I just realized: “Keep in mind that you might not get what you want or deserve, no matter how well you express those feelings, simply because you cannot control other people”. Because I think I am explaining my feelings and want a specific outcome, when I don’t get that outcome, it escalates the fight. Just had a revelation. DuppydomTEAM I thank you.

    duppydomTEAM · June 19, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you, Lisa, for your comments. The number one reason partners seek couples/marriage counseling is because of communication problems 🗣; so, Lisa, it’s not surprising to hear about your dismay. You have pinpointed a common phenomenon that relates to communicating our feelings. After we communicate our feelings, we might not receive the expected outcome, because we cannot control how the receiver will react to our message.

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:48 am

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      Lisa Steffler · June 23, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you for getting back to me.

Amie Warwick · June 19, 2020 at 6:15 am

Hey, duppydom, I don’t even know where to start with this one. I bet at some point in his life, every man asks himself this question. Every boyfriend and now my husband have had a problem communicating their feelings. I don’t think men have a problem with what they are saying as being worthy (they think everything about themselves is worthy), their main issues are understanding their feelings and getting it across. Sometimes when my husband is telling me about how he feels, I am literally laughing inside at his attempt at talking about feelings. Men are just wired differently when it comes to stuff like this.

    duppydomTEAM · June 19, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Amie – your comments are greatly appreciated. When it comes to communicating feelings; like women, men also stumble at times. Not necessarily because men are wired differently🔌 but mostly because men don’t see it as a priority. If men and women want to excel at communicating their feelings, both genders must prioritize effective communication, understand their feelings, feel responsible for their feelings and seek to express their feelings clearly.

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:49 am

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    Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:50 am

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Amara Kone · June 19, 2020 at 10:40 pm

I think the biggest issue in communicating our feelings to others, is that other people are not listening. The minute you mention the word feelings, most people tune out. If I had to guess, it’s because most people think your feelings are your business and they don’t want to be burdened with them.

    duppydomTEAM · June 20, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    Amara, thank you very much for your comments. Dealing with feelings (whether they are our own or someone else’s) is hard work (no getting around this fact). And perhaps if we lived in isolation, we could get away with ignoring the feelings of others. But we live with other people, who come with feelings (that we hurt sometimes), and we must learn how to express our own feelings and acknowledge and deal with the feelings of others. “No man or woman is an island” 🏝

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:50 am

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Nadine Wu · June 20, 2020 at 1:11 am

Hello, duppydom. When I think about communicating my feelings, I think about my parents. I have always had a hard time telling my parents how I feel. Funny you mentioned “your feelings are worthy” – I am sure it’s not just me, but most of the time, my parents treat me like I am still their little girl. If I start talking about my feelings (I think they are worthy), half the time, they just dismiss what I am saying. How do you communicate feelings when you are getting a look of disapproval and disappointment?

    duppydomTEAM · June 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Nadine – we appreciate your insightful comments. Firstly, your parents still treat you like a little girl because you allow them to. It’s not uncommon for adult children to revert to childhood behaviors when they visit their parents; it’s almost like entering a time warp the minute they walk through the front door of their parents’ home. The assumption is that you read the article associated with the “responsible for your own feelings” hyperlink in the article (if you did not, I encourage you to). Grohol asserted that we are responsible for our own feelings, and the solutions for those feelings. If you are always focusing on your parents being disappointed and disapproving of you, it will cause you to have negative feelings about yourself 😓 and succumb to their dismissive behaviors. As an adult, you must “walk firmly in your shoes” 👢 You must make it clear to your parents that you are an adult!

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:51 am

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    Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:51 am

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Bruce Peters · June 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm

Well…I know that years of hurt feelings contributed to the end of my marriage. So, I am going to say that I am not very good at communicating my feelings. BUT (with emphasis), now that I am single and am in another relationship, I now know that it takes two people to communicate. I would say tip #2, #3, and #4 are important for communicating our feelings. Very interesting article.

    duppydomTEAM · June 21, 2020 at 1:50 am

    Bruce, thank you for sharing your comments. Agreed – regardless of the subject matter you are trying to communicate, it takes two (assuming its dyadic) to make the communication process work efficiently and effectively. Side bar: Just a reminder that Tip #1 (your feelings are worthy) can be just as important as the other three tips, particularly in a long-term relationship. If one person starts to feel that their partner doesn’t think their feelings are valid or important (not worthy of discussion 🔇), that could be the beginning of the end of the relationship 🛑

      Adaego M. Azi · June 22, 2020 at 2:52 am

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