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Do you struggle with communication and getting your needs met? Is it hard for you to talk about your feelings and be vulnerable? Do you wear a "mask" most of the time, smiling, and pretending you are fine, when you really want to scream or cry? Are you resentful of friends or loved ones? Do you do things you don't want to do, just because you don't want to say no? Do you avoid conflict at all costs?

If so, one possibility may be that you were not allowed to express negative emotions as a child. Were you allowed to have a bad day? Were you allowed to get mad or cry? Or were you told to "suck it up" and stop crying? Maybe, you were only allowed to show positive emotions, such as happiness. We all know people who are uncomfortable with crying. Some parents will stop their kids from crying even after they have hurt themselves. If your child is crying, it's important to find out why and let them FEEL their feelings. We don't want to send the message that it's not okay to cry. We don't want our kids to think they can't be sad. Crying is very therapeutic. Crying releases toxins and stress. This is why when we cry tears of sadness we feel better!

If this is the case, then you probably learned at a very young age, that it’s not okay to show anything other than positive emotions. You may have been scared to disagree. Were you ever grounded or punished for having a different opinion. Were you ever laughed at in school for crying?

We carry this into adulthood. Our luggage from our childhoods, follows us into our marriages and adult relationships. If we are to have healthy relationships, we have to do things different.

It’s not healthy to keep everything bottled up and ignore our feelings. It's not healthy to always say YES, especially when everything in our being is saying NO. It doesn't mean we are a "good" person, just because we are agreeing with everyone. This can lead to depression, anxiety and self medicating. If you are a conflict avoider, then it's probably uncomfortable for you to discuss any issue that you fear may “rock the boat,” so you stay silent...and suffer and build resentment.

It’s SO important that you learn to use your voice in a healthy way and express your feelings.

Start by taking baby steps:

Remind yourself, that you matter, that your opinion matters, and that you’re an adult now! It's okay to say NO, that doesn't work for me! You don't owe anyone an explanation. What's the worst that could happen? (Now, if there is verbal or physical abuse happening, we need to talk! It's never okay to put up with abuse.) Start with small things, such as “Honey, I really don’t want Mexican again tonight, I would love a hamburger." Learn to speak up, learn to use your voice. Tell your spouse that you've been afraid of conflict and that you will no longer be the YES man. It's a little scary at first because you are learning a new skill. However, as you build your confidence, you’ll be able to tackle those really big things. You will learn to ask for what you need. You will be able to ask for that raise. You'll be able to tell your spouse that you want to hang out with your friends once a month. You'll be able to say, that really hurts my feelings when you do blank...

It’s okay to disagree and it's okay to get mad at your spouse! Do it in a healthy way. Tell them when it happens. Don't wait a month or two and blow up on them.

Learn to express your feelings in a healthy way. You will feel SO much better about yourself!!!

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