We’ll all have times in our lives when we need to stand up for ourselves, or create boundaries with people for our own well-being. Depending on your history and your personality, this can be very challenging. So may people avoid uncomfortable or painful conversations because they fear hurting or disappointing the other person, or because they know once they speak about what’s true for them, everything will change. Maybe they’re afraid of the other party’s reaction, or they just want to do what they want to do without having to compromise or be confronted. When we try to maneuver around what’s true for us, or push those feelings away, or numb them out, we land in a world of pain.
Facing reality as it is, even when it breaks your heart, and maybe especially then, is always your most powerful option. No one wants to live a lie, or have to numb the edges every day so their fuzzy reality almost looks like what they’d hoped to create in their lives. You can’t nurture yourself, or anyone else when you’re denying what’s true in your heart, because it’s just so depleting. Letting fear stand between you, and a life that could feel good is one of the most disheartening experiences we have.
Most people would prefer the truth. Clear communication is such a gift. It’s not easy if it’s new to you, but being able to speak about how you feel calmly, and with compassion for yourself, and the other person, is a skill worth fighting for. No one likes to be kept in the dark, trying to piece together what’s really happening. If you’re close to someone, and something is off, you can feel that. Sometimes you already know a thing, you just don’t want to know it, you don’t want to accept it.
When you doubt yourself, your worth, or whether you’re lovable, it’s really time to get some help. Life is pretty short, and if it isn’t unfolding the way you’d like, you have to take ownership of those things you can control; namely, the way you respond to what you’ve been given, the way you show up for yourself and for the people in your life, and your ability to act on your own behalf. When you participate in a situation that’s crushing to you, you become lost to yourself. Trying to communicate clearly when the ground is slipping around underneath your feet is pointless. If you enter a conversation full of fear and doubt about who you are, what you want or need, what lights you up, what terrifies you, and/or what you have to offer, you can’t expect it to go well. If you’re trying to speak to someone with a strong personality or perspective, and you’re coming from a confused and weakened place, there’s a good chance how you feel will get swept under the rug.
Before you can be clear with other people, you have to get clear with yourself. How do you feel? What isn’t working for you? What changes would feel productive, and make the situation tenable for you? What are you afraid of? What do you want from the other person? Once you have those answers, you can share how you feel, but that’s the way to talk about it. It’s not pointing fingers. It’s not an attack. It’s a conversation that might start with the words, “I’m in pain”, or, “I’m scared to talk to you about this, and I hope you can help me to feel safe”, or, “I want us to be close, and in order for that to happen, I need to share how things are for me”, or, “I need to have a conversation with you, and it isn’t easy, and I don’t want to hurt you, but I have to tell you what’s in my heart.” Usually it’s starting that’s hard. Once you get those first words out, if you’ve given the situation enough thought, the rest will come.
When you’re centered and feeling strong, you can consider what you’re putting in the space between you and this other person. You can choose to fill it with rage and blame and a list of ways you’ve been wronged, or you can offer your honesty and your kindness. If you’re able to do the latter, that’s a gift you give to your own tender heart, and to that of the other party. May we all be strong, kind and clear.
Sending you love,
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