Yesterday I talked how I’ve learned to process my emotions. Here’s what that looks like, married style:
Exasperated, Matt shared his woe of writer’s block while writing a proposal letter for a prospective client. I offered to take a crack at it, and within a short period of time, I produced what I thought to be a compelling letter. He was so getting the deal.
I staggered in disbelief when he responded with, “It’s too long, and that’s not what I want to say. I’m not going to use it”.
I could feel my feathers ruffle.
“Fine! You don’t have to use any of it. I was just trying to help”! I followed Matt into the kitchen. Within seconds, we were yelling at each other, because I was screaming mad.
Matt kept saying, “You’re taking all of this so personal! What are you so mad about”?
“I don’t know why I’m mad! I don’t even care about your dumb proposal”! I began to sweep, well, more like stab, the dining room floor, and mentally began to pull everything out of my inner closet. I needed to figure out what the problem was.
From the kitchen, Matt yelled, “Are you going to let this ruin our night”?!
The old Charity, yes, it would’ve ruined the next two nights. I would have felt like there was something wrong with me because I got so angry about something so stupid. Immediately, the guilt of ruining the night would shut me up. You know, the whole “pick your battles” thing. I would’ve let it go, but the anger would’ve still been there, simmering.
The new Charity, no, nothing’s getting ruined. One, I don’t think fights ruin nights anymore, and two, I’m confident in my anger. My anger let me know that something was triggered inside of me and I wasn’t going to let it go until I discovered what it was.
It took about 10 minutes to be honest, process everything in my mind and put it into words:
What am I angry about? I’m angry, because I’m hurt.
Why am I hurt? If I don’t care about what I wrote, then what DID I care about? Writing. This past year, writing has become an intimate part of me. I didn’t realize it until now that the act of writing is me putting a piece of myself out for display. For years I didn’t feel worthy to let myself out, but I’m learning to live with vulnerability. When I wrote a seemingly insignificant letter for Matt I let a piece of myself out for someone I love. When he rejected what I wrote, I felt the sting of shame. The sting of maybe I’m not enough.
In tears, I shared the discovery about myself with Matt. He affirmed he was in no way rejecting me, and within minutes, my anger and shame passed.
Because I was able to trust what I felt and knew I am worthy of honest living, our night was saved from ruin.