The Things You Don't Want to Say
What is it about us humans that finds honest communication so difficult?
Why is it that the very thing that can bring us out of our sticky muddy waters and finally move us forward, is the thing we avoid the most?
We all TALK about the importance of open and honest conversation, but how many of us can really say that we’ve got this one nailed?
I can think of a few scenarios:
- You didn’t sleep a wink at the B&B you stayed at last night. You could hear your neighbour snoring through the walls, the windows didn’t open properly and the pillows were really soft. But instead of telling the sweet proprietor the truth, you make up a story about having to get home earlier than planned. You miss the second night away. And he never gets the opportunity to improve his service.
- You don’t think the new work structure is efficient and it’s causing you a huge amount of dead time. But you don’t want to talk to your boss about it in case she thinks you’re moaning. Or in case she thinks you’re not interested in the role anymore. Or in case she thinks you’re too controlling. Or in case she thinks…
- You’re really disappointed with your friend who has canceled several meet-ups over the past few weeks. You’d put a lot of effort into carving out the time in your diary and feel both disrespected and hurt. But you think you’ll just leave it and keep quiet again, in case she takes it the wrong way.
- You feel like your relationship has changed and you can’t quite put your finger on it. You feel the tension and you’ve noticed subtle changes in the way he speaks to you. But you think you’re just being silly so you push through and hope it sorts itself out.
Recognise any of these?
We all do it.
We feel something, we think something, we believe something. And then we decide it’s just easier to shut up.
To keep quiet, to push it down, to not make a fuss.
To ignore it, to deny it, to hide it.
The thing is, it doesn’t disappear.
The feelings remain.
The hurt remains.
The anger remains.
And all that ends up happening over time is that these stories build.
They build and build so that eventually it’s not about a single event anymore. It’s months or even years of feelings. Feelings that haven’t been expressed.
And as such, haven’t been heard.
And haven’t been processed.
And haven’t been given the opportunity to bring about change.
Because that’s what full expression brings. It brings the potential for change.
Change of emotion – from fear to reassurance.
Change of understanding – from resistance to clarity.
Change of behaviour – from I feel, to I will.
If we want things to change, we have to talk about them. We have to give expression to what is going on beneath our pretty little “it’s fine” exterior.
Even if it’s hard.
Especially if it’s hard.
The harder it is, the more important the topic. The more grit it has, the more power.
This is about you getting real. Firstly with yourself. And then with the other.
It isn’t about them. Using other people’s sensitivities for your silence is a cop out. It’s not them you’re worried about, it’s how their reaction will affect youthat’s the concern.
But you’re bigger than that. You can do what it takes to speak your truth. You can tune into your inner wisdom and speak from that authentic place.
Because when you speak your truth, with whole-hearted honesty, pure intent, straight from your core, it has to be received.
Start small: Start with something perhaps a little less loaded. If your trusted friend asks you how you are, answer with absolute honesty: “I’m struggling”. “I’m scared”. “I’m lonely”.
Practice: It takes time to get comfortable with vulnerability. Just keep trying.
Select a worthy tribe: Not everyone has the privilege of knowing your inner world. Your people do, so trust them with it and give them the honour of connecting.
This practice has massive power. It has power to change everything.