Speak the Truth Out of Love – A True Relationship
I think that what often happens when we begin to speak our truth is that the truth of the relationship we have with that person is revealed. We see three key pieces clearly for the first time:
1. How much co-dependency there is in our relationship with that person (ie. how much we feel responsible for their feelings and needs or vice versa);
2. How that person offers and receives feedback, ie. How they deal with respectful honest communication;
3. And what, overall, their ability and desire to be in a healthy interdependent relationship is at that time.
We also see what is still alive in us in the way of co-dependency, caretaking, lack of self-esteem and self-trust and self-care etc. etc. by how we do or don’t take on the other person’s reaction and by whether their reaction leads us to back down on our boundary (ie. to meet their needs at cost to ourselves – a co-dependent pattern) or to hold our ground in a way that is open to hearing the other person’s needs and perspective without immediately doubting and abandoning our own.I say, if you’re being respectfully (with your words, tone and body language) truthful about where you’re at and what you need and someone is reacting as though you’re rejecting them or doing something wrong it is simply an indicator that your truth doesn’t meet needs for them.
This is not necessarily a sign that the relationship can’t meet your needs for respect and intimacy in the long run or even in the next few minutes/hours/days. That is up to the other person in terms of how they deal with their own feelings and needs and whether they are able to, with some time and space, see your point and work with you to a solution that meets your needs and theirs. It is exceptionally rare that we are unable to find a way for us to get both of our needs met in a relationship. It may look different from how we initially thought (eg. I might not get my night to myself until Friday when I was hoping for Wednesday but if my need is for some time to myself without kids and partner and cats etc. I will get my need met.) This is how we discover whether the overall need of the other person is simply to control us or the relationship or if their need overall is to have a loving, respectful, mutually rewarding life-long connection. If you share a need with someone in a respectful way and get a strong resistant or critical reaction back it is for you to determine:
1. Whether you think this person is just surprised at your request and needs some time to see you setting boundaries in a healthy way and still being present and loving them and then they will ultimately feel safe to come around and join you in your new, more direct and open relationship;
2. Or whether you think the relationship has been one of the other person needing to control and have things their way, and now that you’re not into being controlled or at least, not into giving them their way at cost to you, they’re not interested in the relationship.
If it’s ‘2’ I say – good information for you to have now rather than later and time to step back. If the other person has a change of heart later on and comes around to a more mutual way of relating you can re-evaluate and decide if you want to give it another go. Otherwise, you’re wise to place your relationship focus on people who are willing to consider your needs as well as their own.
If it’s ‘1’ I say – yipee! Now your relationship with that person can begin in truth, in reality – the two of you can now connect with who the other person really is, what they really feel and what they really like and don’t like etc. and love all of that person. How beautiful and how freeing.
If you are challenging yourself to be more honest and direct with others either with the support of others or because you feel, in your heart, the rightness of speaking your truth, keep the following in mind:You deserve to be acknowledged for doing your very very best to be healthy and balanced and respectful to yourself and others in a world with many people who received the same confusing co-dependent training you did. I encourage you to trust your gut and know that someone’s discomfort or downright dissatisfaction with your behaviour is in no way an indicator that you’re doing anything wrong. It’s simply that they believe that their needs will not get met if yours do. And their own all or nothing thinking makes it a contest for whose needs will get met rather than an interdependent, open, mutual meeting of everyone’s needs.
As long as you keep in mind that you’re not responsible for meeting someone else’s needs, it’s okay if they feel frustrated and resistant (you don’t have to stay in their presence while they’re exhibiting that resentment and frustration by the way, you can take some space and wait until they’re more grounded to return to the discussion) and it’s okay for you to have your needs met. It’s not all or nothing; it’s not either or. It’s your needs and their needs.