One of the things I had to learn in life that has been instrumental in building me as a human being has been the ability to tell people when something bothers me at the time of it bothering me. Often times I find myself or others will hold in these things until they boil over which never ends well for anyone. Being able to say “Hey, I know you had no ill intent with your comment, but it bothered me and here are the reasons why. Perhaps in the future you could be mindful that this has history with me and while I do not feel you need to censor yourself around me, when it comes to this specific thing, it would be great if you could approach it will care”
This sometimes backfires. I often get told:
“Well how can I be myself around you?”
“Now I have to censor my way of speaking?”
“I am an honest person and will always tell you what i am thinking”
To the last one, I love honesty, and I would never want someone to feel hindered in their ability to talk to me honestly, but I think there is a difference between honesty and understanding another person’s life experiences and feelings due to them. Being courteous of how you phrase something so not to trigger a bad experience or past moment is important. However I have always found those boundaries are hard to explain and even harder to express in the moment.
But, with work, I have gotten pretty good at it. And, let me tell you, it has helped me so much in my relationships. First if the person is open to hearing why the thing they said may have made me uncomfortable that is a great start. Second if they broach it in a different way the next time it may come up, allowing them to still be open and honest, but not invasive on my own personal “space” it is truly a magical moment. To be aware of how what you say can affect others is so important, especially in the age of inflectionaless texts.
So, while I am not some poor snowflake that will crumble, there are things from my experiences in life that will make my brain go “EEEEKKK” and can affect my entire mood. But if someone is aware of those, and I make a conscious effort to inform them, as they will have no way of knowing as we get to know each other, I feel like we can grow together, being mindful of each others triggers and past experiences that are not specific to one another but can still make one another uncomfortable. So that freedom to speak up at the moment is so important to me and it is important that others do it with me too. I cannot dodge every mine laid down in the field by past experiences, relationships, etc. Eventually I will hit one. And as unintentional as it may be, as I have no intention to cause harm or discomfort, letting me know, or I letting you know when you hit one, can help two people really move forward in the communication that truly builds a relationship, friendship, or amicable human interaction.
We all have some baggage. We all have bad experiences. But we also don’t know these things when we are new to one another. Exploration is part of getting to know someone, so if both people approach it with this attitude, I find those “oops” moments to be something less of a “FUCK THIS IS NEVER GOING TO WORK” and more of a “My bad, learned, noted, will broach differently next time”. This isn’t censorship, this is compassion and understanding of a fellow human.
So please feel free to step on all my mines. Just know I have learned over time, to let you know at the time of explosion, what just happened, why it happened, what it makes me feel like, and how I would prefer we approach it in the future. And if you have a suggestion of your own as well, please feel free to chime in and I will do the same for you! Afterall, even though with all the left and right swipes of people we can bring in and out of our lives, we are both getting to know one another for the first time uniquely.
If we hold onto to too many of our past experiences and judge others upon them without speaking up, just looking at them as “oh man they are about to step on that moment in my life, they must be just like the last person who placed it” the other person has no chance in hell to ever navigate the “minefield” of “experiences”. So please help me navigate and I will you so that even if we do happen to stumble, we know and can grow as humans, as two people together, and become stronger because of it.
So as important as it is to be mindful of others and how they feel. Being able to express your own comforts and discomforts is equally important.
Something I truly believe in is this: I am not your ex, but if you go into the relationship assuming I very likely could be, I stand no chance to be a unique person that grows with you as an individual. It is like gambling at that point and the house holds all the cards. This also lets you know a lot about how open a person is to actually meeting someone new or if they need to do some self healing exploration first.