I don’t know about you, but I have found through my years practicing as a social worker, family mediator and psychotherapist that often its the things we don’t say that bother us the most.
This can range from not saying please and thank you to a friend or neighbor and feeling bad afterwards- right up to not expressing how we really feel towards loved ones until its too late. Sometimes its when we have been hurt or offended but remain silent and afterwards berate ourselves for not being more assertive. Regardless of the circumstances the one truth is that we all want to be seen, heard, understood, loved and like we belong in a human way connected to others.
As humans we live in community and therefore social interactions are key to health, well being and development. After all we get to know ourselves better in relation to the other. How can we hope to learn more about ourselves if left alone in isolation- our personalities need otherness to thrive and differentiate. Our similarities and differences are as unique as we are and must be acknowledged within society.
So coming back to the original thought- what is it that you haven’t said that has haunted you for days.. weeks… months or even years?
We re-hash conversations in our heads, go over and over what we could have.., should have… and wish we had said or done instead of letting it go and moving on. This type of over analyzing or ‘ruminating’ can lead to stress, anxiety and depression if we don’t process, address and move forwards from it. Its about radically accepting that what is… is and that what happened.. happened and cannot be changed. What we can change is ourselves. Our own thought processes, actions, behaviors and how we respond to life is where our power lies. This promotes living in a more open and accepting way.
We cannot control anybody else but ourselves and worrying about things we have no control over not only removes peace of mind but adds stress and worry about things we cant do anything about. Instead its helpful to focus on what you can do, trouble shoot and find ways of helping yourself in order to overcome the obstacles. Attitude is key here, being open, reflective and seeking solutions instead of focusing on the problem can help move us from stuck-ness to a more fluid state.
So next time you feel upset, angry, frustrated or sad about things you never said.. find a way of making it right for yourself first and then with others if possible. Practice the art of forgiving yourself and others so that you no longer carry boulders of resentment, anger hurt or pain that weigh down your soul and wound your heart. Forgive not because they deserve your forgiveness but because you need freedom from it and are liberating yourself in order to move forwards- free from the shackles of the past.
If the unsaid stuff was in relation to a loved one who has passed away then try writing them a letter expressing your true feelings, or journal on it. The act of writing how we feel can be quite cathartic in itself and helps process painful emotions. Use family and friends for support and if things are particularly difficult seek professional help from a counselor via your GP work based Employee Assistance Program or privately. Sometimes we all need a bit of extra support and its important we ask for the help we need in order to take better care of ourselves💙