I am currently reading a wonderful book called “There is no Fear (Children of the Knight Vol. 3)” by Michael Bowler. I just came across a line that inspired me to write this post. It goes like this:
“Sometimes saying the things we’ve not been saying […] was the hardest thing in the world to do.”
The quote is a thought from Lance, the main character, who thinks about his feelings for his best friend. Feelings that he hardly ever puts into words, partially because he has problems with accepting them, and is afraid of what would happen if he spoke those words.
The things we do not say – and why we do not say them
The things people do not say to each other play an important part in the series “Children of the Knight”. Another quote is
“It’s the things we don’t say to each other that make all the difference.”
I know the meaning behind those quotes only too well. I also know the inner conflict that comes with feelings that are left unspoken, feelings that you enjoy but that you do not want to show because you are afraid of being pushed away, of being misunderstood, of being rejected, of being ignored or even ridiculed for your honesty. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone the truth about your feelings, be they positive or negative, esp. if you don’t know what the other person feels for you. Sometimes we simply cannot find that courage, maybe because we have been hurt too much before when we were honest. The reason why we stay silent can be manifold.
Wanting to say something positive
In the case of feeling very positive towards a person (it doesn’t have to be the romantic type of love), you sometimes just would love to tell that person. For some reason you just feel so very positive about someone, you are filled with happiness and your soul is full of light.
When you know that the other person already is your friend, or a close family member, then it’s usually not much of a problem. But when you have just met someone a while ago, and you are not sure whether the other person would be interested in staying in touch with you, or even becoming a new friend, then it all is a bit different. The options are that you either communicate your feelings and face either rejection, acceptance, or being ignored (the worst case in my opinion), or that you say nothing at all and lose the contact to that person anyway. Of course, in the latter case you could hope that the other person would take the first step – but this might very likely not happen, maybe because he or she has the same problem like you, or because they simply do not like you. In any case, you would not find out. The chance would be lost.
But what happens if you are courageous enough to take the first step, and to make your feelings known (even if not the full extent)? You can either get a positive response, a negative response, or you might get no response at all. Being honest is the only option you have if you want to have a chance at something positive. However, for some of us the risk of the other two options is just too much to bear.
Should we just give up on saying the things that are important to us?
It might be easier just to be the passive party in all of our relationships. The problem would then be that you might miss out on some of the best friends you could find in life – just because both of you were too afraid to say what you both wanted to say. Even if it’s just something like “Wow, I would like to talk about that a bit more, could we stay in touch somehow?” A simple question like that will give you the chance to find out whether the other party is interested in staying in touch, too. They might be, they might be not. They might also be lying about wanting to stay in touch. You simply can’t predict what will happen. Even if there have been many negative experiences in the past, you should not give up.
I know how hard it is to be honest about your feelings. I know what it is like to be really interested in someone (for a variety of reasons). I know how vulnerable you feel when you open up to someone, and how scary it can be. I recently have made two rather disappointing experiences – and that only after I found the courage to actually be honest in a long time. For a while I believed I would never tell anyone I liked them before I wasn’t sure they felt the same. I didn’t want to ask anyone to be my friend because I was (and still am) terrified of rejection and being made fun of.
Yet, in the last six weeks, I told two people who were very important in my life, what they mean to me (one of them I told everything, the other one I only tried to establish some sort of contact after we met). I asked one of them whether I could become her apprentice because during the time I volunteered for her company, I learned so much, and gained so much insight into my own life. I would have loved to learn more, and gain proper knowledge in that job. I thanked her for everything she did, and told her that she was an incredible human being. I know that she has had a hard time recently, but even before that time, she did not respond. By now she likes some of my Facebook posts, and asked me to write a reference for her. But she never replied to my question. I was gutted about that.
So when I met someone who really fascinated me, I tried to keep my interest under control. I did not want to talk much to him, I did not want to know much about him. The first time I met him, I kept my distance. The second time we met, we talked more and I couldn’t keep it from myself that I would love to know more, that he was the kind of person I would love to have as a friend. For a while, I told myself there was no point in asking him to keep in touch. He’d be too busy, too popular, would not be interested anyway. But then I also reminded myself that I would never know unless I tried. I dared to communicate. When he left this place, I gave him my email address. Unfortunately, he never got in touch.
So my success rate isn’t that high. I tell myself to assume nothing. They might have reasons that have nothing to do with me at all. But it is easy for me to fall into the thought that they do not reply because they think I’m a boring person they would not like to have around / stay in touch with. It’s easy for me to beat myself up verbally, to believe that I’m simply not worth it. This is something I need to work on. I guess it’s something many people need to work on. At least I can tell myself I did my part. I was honest. And receiving no answer is also an answer.
What are your experiences with unspoken feelings and thoughts? Do you prefer to be honest at all times, or do you keep a lot to yourself even if it’s something quite positive?