Sharing Real Thoughts
By Michelle Morand
Across the board, without a shadow of a doubt, the most significant thing any of us can do to begin to claim our lives and step fully into ourselves as independent adults is sharing real thoughts and feelings with others.
The act of letting others know who we really are and how we truly feel about any thing or circumstance has two amazing benefits:
1. It builds inner trust and strength.
2. It builds stronger and healthier connections with friends, family, co-workers, significant others and any one else you come into contact with.
If you’ve been resisting being authentic with people about how you feel and what you think, you will be feeling some trepidation at the thought that you would benefit from being more open. You may even be dredging up past experiences to show yourself how wrong I am and that sharing authentically in the past has brought hurt and pain.
Well, likely it has. And, that’s only because one of two things happened:
1. You were sharing with someone who had given you indications that they weren’t trustworthy and/or weren’t able to really honor the gift of your sharing.
2. You had given that person the power (in your mind) to decide whether the thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. that you were sharing with them were valid and appropriate and that individual trashed them, so you did too.
Sharing Real Thoughts and Building Inner Strength
Any time you share with someone from either one of those positions you will be wounded. And since sharing authentically is so very important to your overall growth and healing it is important to be able to know when someone has shown a lack of integrity/trustworthiness and to let yourself not share with them any personal information. It is also fundamentally important for your life-long happiness that you learn to value your own thoughts and feelings more than the feedback, thoughts and feelings of others. As soon as you master that skill, anyone around you can say anything and you’ll be solid, grounded, secure and clear in your respect for yourself.
The most obvious way to determine if an individual is someone you can trust is this: Their words and actions align. They do what they say they will, when they say they will. And, they consistently demonstrate respect and dignity for themselves and for others.
If this is the case you know you’ve got a person you can feel safe having in your life, whether it be as a significant other, friend or plumber! That’s because what that person is demonstrating to you is love and respect for themselves. And a person who truly loves and respects themselves will not disrespect another person.
They may not agree with everyone else and they will say so. But they will do so with respect and dignity for all concerned. They feel solid enough in themselves that they don’t need to put others down or build themselves up by making others feel bad.
So challenge yourself to share a bit more of your thoughts and feelings, more of who you really are with people who fit that description and allow yourself to share nothing of a personal nature with anyone who doesn’t meet that criteria. It’s not safe and you are responsible for making your world a safe and loving place. So start with letting it be okay to no longer share anything of yourself with people who have demonstrated a lack of integrity in their relationship with you or with others.
If someone in the “lacking integrity” category holds a significant role in your life you can tell them why you are taking space and when and under what circumstances you would consider reconnecting:
“George, I really care about you and I would like us to be friends, and when you roll your eyes or raise your voice to me, my needs for respect and safety aren’t met. Would you be willing to work on changing that pattern of behaviour?”
If George says “Yes,” ask him to get back to you and let you know what he plans to do to change that pattern and tell him that you’ll be taking some space from the relationship/keeping your distance until you can be certain that you won’t be harmed by his contemptuous behaviour.
If George says anything other than Yes, if he tries to make it about you being to sensitive, or says he was just joking, blah blah blah, if he says anything other than “I’m sorry and yes, I’ll work on that,” you’ve got to walk away from the connection. Your own needs for safety and love and self-esteem demand it.
The easiest way to get to a place of honoring your thoughts and feelings first and foremost is to let it be okay for others to think and feel differently from you. It’s okay, in this example, for George to disagree and to judge you as being oversensitive. Let him have those thoughts and feelings. He doesn’t get it and that’s okay. We get so caught up in needing the approval of others that we become chamelions, changing who we are and what we feel to accommodate whomever we’re with at that moment.
Challenge yourself to be truthful to yourself about how you feel. If something doesn’t feel good to you; if something creates a sense of distress or disease take the time to figure out what it is and then take action to create a safe and peaceful environment for yourself. You must be the most important person in your world. And you must care for yourself from a place of deservedness and clarity in your right to feel safe and peaceful. You do not need to feel shame or guilt or “needy” for having feelings and needs. You are human. Better than that you are a human with budding consciousness. You are awakening and your first responsibility is to create an environment for yourself that is respectful and safe and allows you to be fully yourself at all times.