Being open is scary and so worth it.
After my last post, I heard from a few women saying that they are afraid to really say what they think because they can't handle conflict. And I get it! I've been there. I lived with that tension for a long time in my life.
Emotions are especially high right now. We are in the second year of a global pandemic. We are tired. We would like it to end. I mean, don't we all want less stress right now?
I think learning to have honest conversations is difficult at first but brings a sense of freedom in the long run. I have learned that if I want to live aligned with my values and beliefs, I need to be comfortable with disappointing people and handling their feelings. You can reframe the tension you feel when someone doesn't 'approve of your choices' as exercising your freedom instead of creating conflict in your relationship.
You don't need anyone's permission to live your life by your own values.
Your relationships will benefit from having conversations where you talk about the issues and concerns you are working through in your life. I think that we all need to be able to question and explore issues to make well-informed choices. If we are going to choose something with integrity and confidence, we need to understand the decision. I’ve either clarified my thinking or gone away with some new information every time I’ve been able to have a conversation about issues I am exploring.
I do the work I do is because I believe you will be healthier, and your relationships will be stronger when you start telling the truth about who you are. Everyone benefits when the real you shows up. Your honesty frees other people to be open about who they are. You can feel confident that people are in your life because of who you are and not who you are pretending to be.
Here's an exercise to help you get started. Take some time and complete this statement: "If (name of person) knew (fill in the blank) about me, they would be upset/disappointed/angry."
In that relationship, you are not showing up as yourself. Maybe there is a good reason for not being honest but over time these types of relationship secrets have an impact. They can begin to erode the very thing you are trying to protect. They become walls that divide.
Being open takes practice. You get better at it the more you do it. You might want or need to talk through what's holding you back from being yourself with the people you love and care about. Email me if you want to schedule a coaching session. I’m also planning to run “Disappoint More People” in May. More details to follow soon.