When it comes to processing emotions, although everyone handles it in a sightly different way, there are two basic types of people: analog and digital. Digital people have a greater interest in interacting with their emotions, and are more forward and assertive about making their feelings known. Analogs are just as capable of having deep and intense feelings, but express them in a more conservative, controlled way. They don't see the need for emphasizing feelings outwardly.
As you might have guessed, I'm more of a digitally emotional person. It's just part of my nature to emote in a big way, in an emphatic way. But when I was younger, I was convinced that people wouldn't like me unless I did my best to be more analog. I thought they would see me as too dramatic, too high-maintenance, and not worth dealing with. So I tried to suppress my true feelings, tried to respond to my emotions in a more analog way, and basically denied everything that represented my real nature.
Case in point: I used to have a boyfriend who would often tell me to "calm down" or "chill out." Ironically, these phrases would often be the last thing I would hear before I flew into a tirade directed at him. My reactions led to my belief that I was too much for people — that they found me too big and too crazy.
It all came to a head one day in the car, when we were stopped at a red light and he calmly turned to me and asked why I had to turn everything into a drama. Oh, it's drama you expect from me every time, is it? Fine, I'll show you drama!
And drama he got. I held back nothing. While loudly explaining to him that yes, I do experience a full spectrum of emotions, thank you very much, I flailed around to emphasize my point, with crazed eyes and flared nostrils. I think I may have even strewn spittle on him, as he sat completely still. He just stared at me, which I now realize was probably his bored reaction to yet another emotional outburst he didn't understand.
Of course, now I can see that although he and I had chemistry, there was no compatibility. It was a perfect case of analog meeting digital and clashing horribly. That's not to say that an analog person and a digital person can't be compatible, but in our case the combination simply did not bring out the best in either of us. He was a more emotionally conservative person, which I held against him; I was an emotionally assertive person, which he held against me. No wonder we didn't get along!
After that, I knew what I needed to do. I made the vow never to suppress my true self, or to try to turn myself into something I wasn't to try to appeal to a greater range of people. Instead, I decided to concentrate my efforts on being a magnet for the type of person who would embrace me for who I really am. I wanted someone who wasn't intimidated by strong displays of emotion, who thrived on being with someone intensely passionate, and who liked a direct and strong personality.
Once I became a magnet* from this place of internal love and acceptance, eventually it culminated in my husband showing up, and the fit was perfect. No more need for resentment or trying to force others to like me. It's all about being who you really are, not dumbing it down, and attracting the right person to match up with your true self! Whether you're analog or digital, assertive or laid-back, it's all about getting in touch with yourself and being that magnet for what you really want. After all, Great Relationships Begin Within!
*The magnet is the second tool in my relationship tool belt. Get a copy of Hindsight: What You Need to Know Before You Drop Your Drawers! at www.maryannelive.com