I just dredged up an old post from many years back … something I wrote after a bad breakup. The long and the short of it: “the conversation” isn’t an unavoidable part of being in a relationship — it IS the relationship.
If you are avoiding talking about what’s going on, then you are avoiding the relationship itself … and opportunity for a real connection along with all the good stuff that can come from it. Often times it’s hard and uncomfortable to do so … we dread the potential for conflict, rejection … or simply the prospect of change. For each of us, the challenge is to reconcile being real and doing no harm.
It’s not just romantic relationships either. “The Conversation IS the Relationship” applies to familial, professional and even cultural and community relationships. Are we able to express ourselves authentically? Are we being true to what’s in our hearts while at the same time true to others? Can we say what’s on our minds and trust we will be listened to and acknowledged?
Here are some excerpts I included in my original post about the book Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott:
Withholding the message is as dangerous to the relationship as delivering the message with a hidden agenda. For each of us, the challenge is to reconcile being real and doing no harm.
Early in any significant relationship, pay attention to what someone does. Relationships go on far longer than makes sense because we don’t want to believe what we see, hear, feel, and sense in our gut. We don’t want it to be true.
When someone shows you who he is, believe him. Pay attention. We show one another who we are every minute of every day.
It took a few decades, but I’ve made progress on this front. Each significant relationship gets better and closer to what I desire. What’s amazing is the dudes and relationships I accepted and desired not all that long ago. What the HELL was I thinking? Looking back I can see that I was undervaluing myself while being overly accommodating to their shortcomings and overly critical of my own. I was afraid to let the right one in so I kept focusing on the wrong ones as a delaying tactic. Ah, youth. Getting older definitely isn’t the worst thing in the world. You could not pay me to return to my 20’s.