"The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile." "Try your best to make goodness attractive. That's one of the toughest assignments you'll ever be given." Fred Rogers
Truth, above all else. I am reminded more and more how often people look to us to set the tone of our conversations. It is only when we "lead" by example that people can do the same. All it takes is us being brave for one moment so the people we're looking to connect with can be empowered to also release their truths. Often what we really want to say is just below the surface, and all of us are well aware of it but hesitate long enough for the moment to pass. The thing is there's not just one moment for us to speak with candor. Those moments can be infinite if we choose them to be.
We don't necessarily have to wait for the right time; we can make our own. Hell, we can even tee-up our "big" moment of vulnerability by calling it such. It's the "can I be honest" or "I'm going to be vulnearble." That is us giving ourselves permission to say something really real. It's also self-accountability. Now that we put that out there it means we have to follow up with what we were apprehensive about saying. Getting candid is good for us and others. It's a moment of raw humanity. It's us releasing tension. Communicating our thoughts externally let's us push them out instead of carrying them within.
We talk around issues like its our day jobs. We talk around instead of talking about issues. There's another layer to that. We don't talk about the way that we talk. It's so critical for us to articulate what we notice in having conversations with others. Those meta moments where we acknowledge, for better or worse, how we're making conversation can make a world of difference. It's bringing forth patterns of behavior, conversational details, or communcative ticks that we pick up. It's noticing we always talk about this jokingly; we deflect around this topic; we shut down at this point; we get excited when we bring this up; etc. In some ways people are shocked when we point out the how but it adds depth to the conversation, and adds a level of authenticity that is freeing.
The more we strive to say how much we appreciate being able to speak freely, having someone to share in our joy, as much as we bring attention to how we are first to reach out, we don't questions asked back, or we're receiving short answers to complex questions - the more we create opportuniteis to clarify what's going on. Maybe it's not the best time to have a heavier conversation. Maybe we don't have the prerequisite relationship to go there. Maybe we're not as invested or connected as we thought in one another. We're so afraid of severing connections but sometimes those bonds have long been broken - formalizing the disconnection can be as liberating as it is saddening. Are we sad for sadness' sake or becuase we sincerely miss conversing with that person? Knowing the distinction makes all the difference.
It's always a good time to be explicit. With all the linguistic tools we are socialized to know and learn to use communication can be challenging. One of the only definitive ways to get what we need to across to others is to be specific, direct, and concise. If we are receiving explicitness, we need to engage and ask clarifying follow-up questions if we don't understand, or just to demonstrate our comprehension. There is so much ambiguity. There is so much uncertainty. There is so much confusion. One of the kindest things we can bestow upon others is clarity. When we gift others our truth, especially in regard to them, it removes all the time, energy, and effort spent trying to decipher, decode, and deconstruct messaging.
We need to say what we mean. We need to tell people how we feel about them, how they make us feel, and how we're feeling - freely, openly, and often. People are waiting for us to do it, and have no idea that's what they want. We can take away all their worry, anxiousness, and confusion just by being direct in our communicaiton with them. If we love them, we tell them. If we're unsure of our connection, we can say that. If we've been hurt by them or their words/actions, then we can bring that forward as well. We cannot expect people to know what we're thinking. The only way to avoid miscommunication is to communicate - directly. I feel ... I want ... I need ... I've noticed ...
Feelings are hard. Not only do we have to actually feel them, but then we have to share them with other people. Seems like a whole lot of work in world that has largely been dismissive of emotion. They matter. We all have them. We need them. A life devoid of them is not a life at all. We need to get it all out. We waste so much time carrying all our feelings around about things we've experienced, issues around us, and people in our lives. We need to let it out purposefully lest it come out in ways that we cannot control. It's the difference between a stready trickle at our whim as oppposed to a dam breaking an wreaking havoc to everything in its path. Either way it's going to come out, the question is how, when, and where. We have to challenge ourselves to share our feelings. When we have those moments of hesitation, or we hear all the things we've learned over the hears that put us down with showing emotion, we have to remember that it's just a second of courage with an immense payoff.
The more we do it, the easier it becomes. Just like learning how to write, do math, or ride a bike - when we practice sharing our feelings it can become second nature to us. Whew, people who have become comfortable with sharing their feelings can do it effortlessly. It becomes a natural part of hwo they communicate and who they are. There's something distinct about them. They get to control how they're feelings come out, and if they even have them at all. That's another level of emotional literacy. Getting candid is one of our most underutlized abilities that we can tap into. We have to find our outlets - plural - to release our emotions, sort through them, take what we need from them, learn, and move on. It's not easy, but we are capable. All of us. We have to be. That's what makes us human. X