I've been reflecting of late on the tendency to hold back on sharing what we feel and think, and the impact of this retroflection.
When we feel something strongly and yet don't express it, that comes at a cost. It takes energy to keep the emotion inside, and what happens often is we turn it back on ourselves and hold ourselves responsible for what we experience. We don't then give feedback those around us and put responsibility for actions where it belongs, with the person who acted.
Its true to say no-one is entirely responsible for another person's feelings. We can not export our emotional life and hold others to account for our reactions to them. Our reactions are unique to us, patterned from our life experiences and past relationships.
Patterns simply repeat and repeat until we do something different. I like to think of this as the world being a benevolent place. It continues to offer the opportunity for change and growth until we take it.
With work, we can learn how to have mutually respectful, meaningful relationships where we each feel entitled to our authentic experience of each other, and where we can explore this together with curiosity and care. We can bear other people's reflections and welcome the opportunity to work through them, and expect them to do likewise.
It can be useful to notice where you hold back and do not express what you really think and feel, and what prompts you to retroflect. Does this happen in all relationships or only in some contexts? What consequences do you anticipate if you speak up? What might happen or not happen that you are avoiding? Is your self-esteem and sense of worthiness ripe for exploration?
Continued retroflection can lead to a build up of emotion inside, and in time this turned in energy can lead to ill-health, both in the form of depression and physical illness.
If you want to explore yourself in relationship, what you hold in and what you express, then consider finding a psychotherapist you want to build a relationship with.
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