Have the Tough Conversation
COMMUNICATION IS THE WAY TO TRUTH!
Be open, be specific, be vulnerable. These are things I like to live by.
Honestly as a child I told a lot of white lies, and it used to make me feel really guilty, and leave me feeling bad about myself. I would end up in complex situations, trying to cover myself up and project a false image of perfection. As I got older and learnt a few crucial hard lessons, I learnt the value of honesty. I resolved to turn myself all the way around and tell the 100% truth as often as I can.
I didn’t wanna be that kid anymore. I didn’t wanna feel anxious of being “caught out” all the time. It was time to construct a new identity, based on the authentic me. This was a really difficult process to transition through, and I slipped up many many times. But I’m more truthful today than I’ve ever been, and I love the acceptance that comes from being fully myself without having to lie.
This post is to encourage you to be that person too. I think we are far too protective of our feelings and thoughts in general, and I would love to see a world where we feel more comfortable in expressing our true and authentic emotions. They are natural.
When it comes to your relationships with others, it always pays to have the tough conversations. You will find that people may even be surprised by your honesty, but are likely to respect you a lot more if you disclose your values and perspectives. This not only creates an environment where you can now comfortably express yourself, but one where the other person feels safe enough to do so too.
Personally I am quite proud of how I have practiced my communication lately. Even as someone who is studying and passionate about communication, it is still hard to be truthful about how I really feel sometimes. My sorest habit is staying quiet when I really need to speak up. However, I’ve been truthful lately about some feelings and anxieties that I usually would have buried, and relieved a lot of self-created tension in my relationships by doing so.
I think we can all agree that we respect people immensely who are honest, as it takes a lot of vulnerability to put yourself out there like that. But it makes for a much better, clearer and more satisfying relationship, and provides a space where your friend can be honest too. Simple examples of what I’m talking about are as follows:
“Hey, I haven’t been hearing much from you lately! Did I do something to upset you or is there anything I can do to help you?”
“Hey, it was great meeting you and I appreciate your offers to hang out. However I don’t feel we’re a great match as friends, and I wanted to be honest with you.”
“Hey, I’m so sorry but I spilt coffee on your journal. I’ve been feeling very guilty and was afraid of your reaction, but it was my bad and I’d like to replace it.”
These are all easy-to-have conversations that we often ignore or put off. And it’s understandable that we do so! Because guilty, shame, and unease are very hard emotions to deal with. But by sharing those emotions and taking responsibility for what we feel allows us to untangle and repair those uncomfortable feelings from the roots. Saying sorry is one of my favourite things to do now. I feel commendable and human by admitting to my mistakes, or by telling someone that I feel shame or sadness about something.
SO HAVE THE TOUGH CONVERSATION! It may take an hour to even build up the confidence, but know your very ease of mind is patiently waiting on the other side. Just being on the same page as someone alleviates so many worries you may just be stewing in alone otherwise.
Lately even in the times where I’ve told myself I can’t tell the truth, (it’s too terrible, they’ll hate me), I have done so anyway, in my own time. It makes me proud to risk myself openly in the ways that are also tied to some of my deepest insecurities (which is honestly a fear of abandonment). I would bottle things up in fear of being rejected for thoughts I was having, but by being honest I not only proved to myself that the worst didn’t happen but that I could also come to a conclusion about the situation. I think it’s great that I’m pushing myself in these ways, and seeing such success in my relationships whilst doing it.
So if you’re feeling unsure about where you stand with someone in your life, make yourself vulnerable by letting them know how you feel and and ask for their feelings. You’ll probably find you’ve given them a place to open up, and you’ll feel a lot more at peace amongst your otherwise unhealthy assumptions about the situation.