...doesn’t mean simply vomiting out your “uncensored truth” to anyone who will listen.
“Sharing your feelings” is NOT actually always the kindest or most conscious thing to do.
Yes, let’s be “real” with each other. Let’s come out of hiding and reveal our authenticity. Let's break the spell of shame in relationship.
But – and this is crucial - let’s also develop discernment.
Sensitivity to what we need, yes - but also a great and powerful sensitivity to where the other person is, a profound care about THEIR inner life.
Otherwise “I’m only sharing MY raw truth!”
is simply narcissism in disguise.
It’s not always loving to “share” your deepest feelings – your grief, your anger, your fear, your pain, your profound realizations – with someone who hasn’t signed up to receive, or isn’t able to receive, or, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to receive, or doesn’t have the capacity to receive.
We need to be very respectful and aware of other people’s boundaries, feelings and needs. THEIR willingness to receive our truth. Their ability to listen. How they manage their time. What they can handle on any given day. Their own pain and trauma. The demons they are secretly fighting (the ones we may never know about). Who they feel close to, and safe with.
We need to learn to ASK before we mindlessly splurge our stories, share our private inner lives, speak our deepest traumas, express our “raw and uncensored truth” to another.
Otherwise we are just dumping our sacred inner world on them, using them as a receptacle for our pain, our fear, our loneliness and the unmetabolized regions of our psyche. This is not kind, for the other person, and ultimately for ourselves.
Because our holy innards deserve a safe and committed holding environment.
And we can never demand that someone else “listens” to us.
We have to ask. Out loud. And be willing to hear the response.
Yes, let’s be “honest and real” with each other. Let’s tell our unvarnished truth… to those who are open and willing and ready and able to listen, to those who have signed up for this sacred work. A therapist. A good friend. A partner. A family member. Someone who has explicitly committed to offering their time and listening to us in this way.
Yes, let’s “speak our truth”. But let’s also learn when to stop talking. And breathe. And listen. And open our awareness in a different way. Ask about the other person. Find out what they want, and need, and are able to offer. Get deliciously curious about their world.
Do not assume anything! Unspoken assumptions and expectations destroy relationship. Ask. Ask if they are willing to hear OUR cry. And be open to their response, which may be disappointing.
Be willing to be disappointed, too.
Disappointment itself can be a pathway to love.
It’s NOT always about "speaking our feelings". There is a time for speaking, and a time for silence. A time for sharing our deepest inner life, and a time for listening too. A time for being together, and a time for being alone.
A time for coming closer, and a time for giving each other space.
A time for "telling our raw truth", and a time for.... well, not telling it at all. Sometimes THAT is the kindest thing.
Here is the dance and mystery of relationship, and we are all invited.
~ Jeff Foster