Spare Someone's Feelings

Updated: Apr 25

In this chapter, we'll talk about:

  • how to decide if involving another person in our problem/s is necessary.

  • giving someone advice (when asked).

  • + three writing prompts.

"I don't think we've ever had a conversation during a positive time in [my friend's] life. I don't currently have the energy to worry about her anymore. That must make me a bad person..."

- From Girlboss.Guru's Personal Journal (2021)

OUR JOURNAL IS A SOUNDING BOARD, WILLING TO LISTEN WHENEVER we need an eager ear. Oftentimes, we feel guilty for unloading stress and worries on those we love because we fear they might take some of that weight onto their already hunched shoulders and struggle, all because of our inability to cope. It's made all the more difficult if our spouse works longer hours, or in a more complex and stressful role, like we don't have the right to feel this way in comparison. So, it's easier to believe we are a burden, that our problems cannot be real and remain silent, than admit we really need someone else's help.

When those closest to us could have a quick solution or a creative suggestion, shutting them out instead forces our prolonged, unnecessary pain. So writing these thoughts and feelings, if only about our reluctance to share inner pain, is a therapeutic and brave act. Quietly handwriting about our struggles, then exploring various solutions first, lets us exhaust any possibility of solving what we are going through on our own, rendering the need to share the upset with anyone else redundant. It irons through any obsessive inner criticisms and self-inflicted emotional beatings, validating our need to involve a third party because, in our mind, we now have no other choice if we wish to fix the problem/s at hand.

We've tried everything else and nothing worked, so now it's time for a second opinion.

WE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT PREDICT THE RESPONSE TO ASKING for help from those who care about us, though. They may want to know and offer comfort even if they are unable to assist, and could later verbally scold us when they hear we tried to spare their feelings at the expense of our drawn-out torment.

"Why didn't you call me? You know my door is always open."

"I wish you'd have said something. Don't suffer in silence."

The reality is this: we do not know and cannot accurately predict someone else's thoughts and feelings—their opinions about our lives are none of our business (frankly), even once they have offered guidance and left us to make a choice. Just as our speculations about that person are private (unless we are prompted to 'be honest' and divulge them).

It's not uncaring, evil, selfish or rude not to repeatedly involve yourself in the affairs of others. Journaling about our frustrations following the advice or help we give another person can be equally reassuring. It avoids carrying worry and fear for our friend/family/colleague/roommate if they choose not to take the ticket to freedom we offer. That solution may already have been tried remember, may be too expensive or invasive, or they may simply want an easier—or, merely different—path. A verbal 'I told you so' will never ground them, but a private, written 'I told you so' can, at least for you, be satisfying!

Open Your Journal

Turn to a blank page in your notebook to answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever held off asking for advice because you didn't want to worry someone you love?

  • Were you ever confident you had a solution to someone else's problem, but they ignored what you had to say?

  • Write about how helping others makes you feel.

Need a journal?

GBG Blank Journal Page
Download PDF • 477KB
Spare Someone's Feelings Journal
Download • 1.03MB

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