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Thinking Out

Marissa Alexander

You'll Never Know Until You Speak Up: How to have healing conversations

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone you trust and respect and got blindsided by a hurtful comment or remark that left you wondering, what just happened? You had a strong urge to speak your piece - just fling your thoughts out there like a frisbee and let them fly. But, out of fear of damaging the relationship beyond repair, you kept silent? Been there. Recently, while reading and reflecting on my journal, I came across an entry about an encounter. Some time ago, a friend and I were discussing how past relationships can make you apprehensive about dating. I confided that I was in therapy and working through some issues. They replied, "You could use some help identifying red flags". There was an awkward silence. In an instant, an encouraging conversation had been reduced to a commentary that left me feeling judged and belittled.

Despite feeling a deep sense of betrayal and a new wave of shame and guilt. I asked myself, "Is it truly worth addressing?" I decided that the relationship held more value than a few painful words. "You should toughen up. Dust off your shoulder and let it go. Don't be overly sensitive," I scolded myself as if I could simply choose to be unbothered. A day went by, but I couldn't shake it. It was gnawing at my soul. Again, I urged myself to be emotionally sound, thinking it can’t be that serious and perhaps it's better to keep quiet. Deep down, I feared that bringing up the issue might harm the other person's feelings. "After all," I reasoned, "they probably didn't mean it that way. Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill." Yet, on the third day, something stirred within me. I summoned the courage to pick up the phone and be brave. "I feel sad and hurt," I confessed with vulnerability. "Your jokes made me feel small and insignificant. I hold you dear, and it pains me to think I don't matter to you." Before I could brace for the worst, they responded sincerely and touching my heart deeply, "I am so very sorry. I was thoughtless and hurtful, and for that, I apologize. I love you deeply, and I want to be better for you. You deserve more than my casual shade." At that moment, a wave of pride washed over both of us. It took courage to speak up, to confront my feelings, and to risk the unknown. And it took grace for them to admit their mistake and promise to change. The conversation wasn't easy, but we did it, and emerged stronger and closer. Another bag unpacked! So, friends, the moral of my story is this: Don't let hurtful words fester in your heart. Speak up, be clear about your feelings. Have those healing conversations. You matter, not just to yourself but to those who genuinely care about you. Open and honest communication strengthen relationships by fostering respect, mutual understanding, and trust. Your voice is a powerful tool. So, speak up.

With Light, Love, and Less Baggage

~ Marissa


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