In The New Year, I Hope You Tell Them How You Feel

 Thought.Is
Thought.Is

I’ve always been fascinated with feelings, high intense emotions, the concept of love and someone’s simplistic ability to enhance your life just by being in it.

I remember talking to my father at age 10, I told him about a boy I had a crush on in class and I asked, ‘Dad why are people afraid of saying how they feel if everyone feels these things?’

I’d be in for a rude awakening in the coming years, never fearing the things he explained like rejection, someone’s inability to reciprocate your feelings or vulnerability seeming like weakness.

But in time, even myself, the hopeless romantic, who grew up watching the Wonder Years and Boy Meets World, believing in Winnie and Kevin and Cory And Topanga, began to fear love as much as I admired it.

But I realized having fallen in love once and it being the best thing that ever happened to me, it wasn’t love I feared. What I really feared was falling in love and losing it again.

‘This isn’t like you to not tell him how you feel?’ a close friend said to me. But I was scared.

So why do we fear telling people the truth? Why is it so hard to simply say I like you or I’m in love with you? Why is it so hard to take these chances?

Our entire lives are driven by fear.

We don’t quit a job because we fear unemployment. We don’t take that trip because we fear the unknown and fear somewhere we’ve never been. We don’t jump out of that plane because we say we’re afraid of heights. And we don’t tell people how we feel because we say we fear rejection. But I think there’s a key component missing.

I think what we fear most is getting what we want and losing it.

We fear landing our dream job then getting fired. We fear traveling and going somewhere new because what if we like it better than where we are right now? And we fear saying I love you because we’re afraid of them saying it back.

So we settle, living our lives content but always pining for something more. We’re programmed to always think about what we don’t have and what it would be like if we did have it. But everyone is afraid of doing something to get it.

People don’t fear rejection or ruining a relationship.

What people actually fear is getting everything they’ve ever wanted because it’s only then you can lose it.

That’s why you haven’t said anything yet.

So in the New Year, I want you to think about that person you truly care about. That one person that means more to you than anyone. The person you’d do anything for, no matter the time or inconvenience. The person who makes your life just a little better because they’re a part of it.

Maybe you’re just friends. Maybe it’s a hookup you want to be more. Maybe it’s a co-worker. Whoever the person is that you go to bed thinking about every night, who probably doesn’t have a clue you feel this way, I want you to tell them how you feel.

And it’s going to be scary. It’s going to be awkward. It’s going to put you in a state of complete vulnerability, where you’re putting yourself in the target of being rejected. But remember it isn’t rejection you actually fear.

What if this is the last time you tell someone how you feel? What if this turns out to be the love of your life? What if this person is the one that heals you?

I think we repress feeling and don’t say things because we’re content with the relationship and we have all lived our lives programmed to be that way.

But life isn’t meant to be just average. Go after the thing you fear.

Because that very same thing you fear could hold the key, that opens a door, to the extreme happiness in your life, we all deserve and want but are afraid of actually getting.

If you care about someone that deeply you owe it to yourself to pursue it.

Because on the other side of fear and rejection could be someone who feels the exact same way.

I know it’s scary. And I know everyone might tell you not to say something because ‘we’re not supposed to’. But saying something could change your entire life.

And maybe it won’t but at least you’d never have to wonder.

Trust me when I say, the only thing worse than not saying something is sitting next to them six years later and hearing the words, ‘I loved you too,’ but by then it’s too late. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

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