Relationships are ruined by the buildup of negative emotion. Eventually, you just have to get away from the other person because you can't stand it anymore. Here's a simple way to get things off your chest and keep your relationships on an even keel.

I've always admired people who can be honest without irritating other people. That's something I've had to personally work on. I think the trick is always to be able to honestly express your feelings without making another wrong. That requires a conscious effort.

The trick is, when you feel yourself irritated by another, to just stop for a second before blurting out something negative about them. Instead of saying, "you are a jerk!" try saying, "It REALLY upsets me when you don't put down the toilet seat after you go to the bathroom."

The first statement expresses a negative emotion, but does not identify the reason behind that emotion. What it does is build emotional charge around the subject. But the second statement is cathartic. You get off your emotional charge and you identify WHY you are upset. As an added bonus, the person you are talking to doesn't feel as upset. Now you can make some progress!
A person receiving the first statement is going to lash out at you immediately, and you will get in an argument. That's what I mean by building up emotional charge. If you've ever been involved in a shouting match, you know how it goes. You can actually feel a buildup of electrical energy around you, and it doesn't feel good! After such an argument you feel drained, and if you are like me, it takes you a little while to recover. So expressing your feelings in the first way doesn't get you anything but emotional turmoil.

Of course it's better to express your feelings than to suppress them, but just a LITTLE mindfulness can go a long way in keeping your personal relationships (and your personal integrity) intact. That's because any emotion you feel is about yourself first, and the other guy second.

I always hated it when people told me that I had to be "nice" to others, because that meant I had to suppress my feelings. But being "nice" doesn't solve anything. It makes you phony and dishonest, and people don't like that. Almost everyone you meet would rather deal with an honest person than a dishonest one. When you feel upset with another, you have to tell them, otherwise your relationships will fester and explode.

The way to do that is to tell the truth! And the truth is that your upset is first about yourself, so express your feelings that way.

"I don't like it when you talk with your mouth full," instead of "you eat like a pig."

"It upsets me when you drive so fast in traffic," instead of "you drive like a maniac."

Make your upset first about yourself and less about your partner, or your boss, or whoever you are dealing with. It's more honest, and it will make you feel better. Try it and see!

Once you get into the habit of expressing your feelings this way, you will begin to feel a release of emotional upset. And you will find that your relationships improve as well.

Author's Bio: 

Kenneth James Michael MacLean has written 8 inspiring books, over 100 content-rich articles, and produced two movies.

Visit Ken at his website, The Big Picture, at

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