ARE YOU AFRAID TO HURT SOMEONE’S FEELINGS?
When explaining why you didn’t tell a friend what you really thought about something personal to them, have you ever said: “I didn’t want to hurt their feelings?” I’m sure, like most people, you have at one point in your life, and perhaps you still do. I want to be honest with you:
YOU CAN’T HURT SOMEONE ELSE’S FEELINGS!
I will tell you why. It’s because you’re a People Pleaser, and the Saboteur in you thinks it’s better to save someone else from feeling bad than for you to tell them the truth. But your Accomplice Saboteur, the Pleaser, is lying to you, and that is its job. And, since this paradigm formed when you were a young child, it may be locked into place and even invisible to you.
People with this pattern may have created it as a ‘success’ strategy. You may have grown up hearing, “You’re bad if you hurt someone’s feelings.” Another similar, usually unspoken rule is “Never hurt someone’s feeling!” It implies (and you take on the belief), “You are responsible for other people’s feelings and comfort.”
That’s a huge load to take on as a child and into adulthood.
I would suggest a healthier belief and rule: “You are responsible for your own behavior, feelings, and comfort.” And as a co-dependant-no-more, I have found that honesty truly is the best policy. I have learned that I am responsible for my feelings and not for other people’s. I am responsible for telling them the truth; how they deal with what I tell them is their responsibility.
Here’s an example that is more common than not: You’re in a relationship, and you want to break it off, and the problem is you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. So you don’t tell them, perhaps hoping they get the “hint.” I can tell you from personal experience the longer you are silent, the more pain you’ll wind up inflicting on the other person.
Honesty is the best policy.
If the other person wants a more intense relationship or to continue the relationship, and you don’t, you need to be clear and honest about what you do or don’t want. You can tell the person what they can expect from you—ending the relationship or cooling it down—if that is what you want to do. How the person deals with it is their issue. Whether or not we tell the person is ours.
The longer you put off telling someone the truth, the more painful it is to them. Ask yourself, “Did I do that out of “kindness” to spare the person’s feelings?” or was it to avoid guilt from the childhood belief that you “never hurt another person’s feelings?”
If you feel a twitch, pinch, or stirring in your gut, you know the answer—and the truth.
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