Are you being a wee bit wimpy?
Are you carrying around an unspoken question or assumption about something?
Did someone do something or behave in a way that stumped (and possibly hurt) you but you haven’t had the guts to ask them about it?
We’d rather suffer under our own assumptions, pretend everything is fine, and take things personally rather than just having the chutzpha to be real, raw and vulnerable with another person. I too am guilty of wimping out in relationships and just mustered up the guts to rescue myself from playing it safe.
There is a friend in my life whose company I enjoy, I see frequently and get along with great. But I had been secretly carrying around some hurt and misunderstanding about why he did something he did over a year ago! I acted as if everything was great between us. And honestly I had convinced myself I put the situation behind me because I did my own closure and forgiveness work (both of him and myself). I was able to see the spiritual lesson in it and move on.
However I missed one important lesson, which was to have the courage to get clarity from him. Instead I made up the reasons for him. Some of the reasons I came up with made me feel better and have an understanding of the situation. Yet the part of me that took the situation personally came up with reasons that made me feel downright awful.
Finally I had the opportunity to ask what I wanted to ask him (actually I had plenty of opportunities in the past so it is more accurate to say I had a moment where my courage met a window of opportunity). In a very non-confrontational way and without any blame, I just asked what motivated his decision and gave him full permission to be 100% honest with me.
And he had the guts to answer – honestly and vulnerably. What was the most healing for me was simply having the courage to ask the question and the willingness to hear the answer because I was taking care of the part that I hadn’t been taking care of. His response was the cherry on top and cleared up some misunderstandings as I hear the truth from his point of view. There was one thing he shared that felt like a bit of a zinger but the truth felt SO much better than making up a lot of lies in my head. My friendship with him now feels even deeper and richer because there is not an unspoken thing between us and we were willing to be real with each other.
My strong encouragement to you today is to put aside looking strong, right, or like something doesn’t bother you if it does. There is a lot of growth we can do on our own. I am not asserting that we need a conversation with another person to have closure and forgive. AND this can also be a cop out. Sometimes the lesson we most need to learn is to have the guts to speak up!!
Your ego can put on a game face forever but your heart will always long for the truth. Strength of heart always trumps strength of ego! You have the courage to make choices from your heart rather than your head.
Ready for a courageous conversation? Here are some steps that will help:
1. Get clear in your intention before the conversation, go for healing, authenticity and clarity. Toss aside any intentions disguised as expectations around what you want from the other person.
2. Have a little talk with their Higher Self before the actual talk by inviting their presence forward in a meditation or prayer. Share your loving intention and you may ask that their best self comes forward in the conversation.
3. JUST DO IT (this is the guts part!). Clearly put out your question or concern. Do not dance around it with a bunch of story. Get straight to it by saying something like, “When you xyz, I felt xyz and I’d really like to understand your point of view.” Use “I” language – remember no blaming!
4. Be vulnerable. Drop your ego concerns about looking good. The more raw and open you are, the more you invite that from the other person.
5. Share that you seek understanding, not explanation so the other person’s defenses stay down. And GIVE THEM FULL PERMISSION to be honest!!!! This is not about hearing what you want to hear. Be prepared for that zinger, but trust that dealing with the truth is much easier than navigating the dead-end road of your assumptions.
6. Thank the person for their honesty. Inwardly make sure that you also acknowledge yourself for having guts.
7. Forgive any judgments toward yourself or the other person.
8. Do something nice for yourself to celebrate your courage!
Being honest and putting our tender questions out there on the line feels super scary but it is so worth it . . . both for your relationship with yourself and the quality of your relationships with others!!
Say what you need to say. Ask what you need to ask. Allow the truth to set you free.
P.S. Want to be published? Have a great story about things not going your way? I am looking for contributors to my next book: Expectation Hangovers due out this spring. I’d love for you to share a story! All the details here.
Christine Hassler is an author, speaker, life coach and spiritual counselor dedicated to helping people answer the questions who am I, what do I want and how do I get it? You can check out her website here.