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Why it is Important to Speak Your Truth in Relationships

Wood carving of couplePHIL: You’ve heard over and over how bad lying is in your relationship, but telling the truth can be hard. Society operates with social graces, inhibitions and taboos. Two big ones are money and sex: try asking a stranger what they earn or what their favorite position is. They probably won’t want to talk about their criminal history or cosmetic surgery; what that rash is or what their heritage is; or those old dinner-table taboos of politics and religion.

A relationship starts with all of those in place, and as you come to know each other, trust and honesty grow and you can reveal more and more. But old habits die hard and the remnants of that tendency to conform, to please people, to fit in, can remain in the relationship.

In contrast, to tell everything is to be completely naked and vulnerable. It is a different place from the usual one of having some defenses. It can be scary. What if you show your dark side? What if you show how unlovable you are? What if you drive your partner away? But look at it the other way around. Do you want to lie by omission and live with part of yourself unseen in exchange for the other comforts of the relationship?

In a committed relationship with full acceptance, this won’t happen. That full acceptance is important, and we’ve written about it elsewhere. It’s a two-way street, of course, and involves you accepting your partner completely, too.

When that exists between you, the sense of lightness and freedom is exhilarating because you can fully be yourself, and telling the truth is part of that.

It has a different feel, and it is not one that we are used to. To find it, you must recognize the feeling of holding something back and step over it. Self-awareness is the genesis of change and growth. By looking for that discomfort and pushing past it, you can practice living in that space of truth.

MAUDE: Honesty is an important part of every relationship. And yet, so often it becomes a stumbling block; one created by fear. The fear of rejection, of a lack of acceptance, causes many to feel they have to hide their feelings.

Being honest is not just a matter of not telling a lie. It is more often about not sharing your truth. When you withhold some part of yourself, it can be sensed. Your partner may not know what it is, but they can sense that it is. This causes feelings of mistrust and doubt to enter your relationship. It will create unnecessary distance and even estrangement.

To overcome and avoid this unnecessary and all too common behavior requires self-reflection and an open self review. As with so many issues that can complicate a relationship, this takes a desire to know yourself and to examine your actions.

This type of defensive behavior, where you cover up or hide what you are afraid will not be accepted has become reflexive for many. To break free of this it is necessary to learn to recognize this within yourself and to act differently – to stretch past it. The problem often lies in recognizing what is happening; look for those feelings of unease, of sudden distance appearing between you and your partner. Ask yourself why is this there? Does it represent something real or is it generated by your own withholding? Venture a deep look at what is making you uncomfortable, does it lie within you?

Take a leap of faith into trusting your relationship and your partner. Trust they will want to know how you feel. Communicate what has been happening with you. Often when you speak your truth you get to hear it as well! When you speak, make sure you make it about you and how you feel or what you want or need, and not about the other person.

If you both share the same values then there’s a very good chance that even if you express it differently, you will meet with understanding and encouragement. Instead of misunderstandings and separateness, you will find this kind of sharing brings you closer and reminds both of you of your connections and of how much you treasure your relationship.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about honesty and living your inner truth. It requires both understanding and effort. Here are some blogs to help with that process.

What Is The Cost of Withholding Your Truth? "One of the casualties of living an outer-centered reality is that we can easily lose our ability to tell our truth honestly, openly, and freely. Sadly, this doesn't just mean being unable to tell your truth to others, it also means not being able to tell your truth to yourself. This state of affairs is part of the learned response that motivates us to give others what they want or at least what we think they want, even if it means sacrificing what we want. In the worst scenario, it means putting ourselves last."

Speaking & Living Your Truth (Why it’s Hard & How You Can Do It) "Speaking the truth can be tricky. For those of you who have this down, bravo to you. Although, even if you’re a truth speaker, my guess is that there have been and will be situations in life where “the truth” is difficult to speak. Verbalizing the truth, first to ourself and then to others, requires vulnerability, awareness and courage.  A problem arises when we get in the habit of avoiding the truth, which leads to living a life based around something other than what’s real and authentic."

The Power Of Telling The Truth "It can be scary to tell our partner how we really feel sometimes. Out of politeness, embarrassment, shyness, avoidance, or just not wanting to hurt their feelings, we can find ourselves not sharing our innermost feelings. We may find ourselves inhibiting and censoring our truest, deepest worries and fears with the people we love the most. And, our relationships will suffer for it - from the lack of depth, from lack of real connection, and from the shear superficiality of inauthenticity. Here is a spiritual rule of thumb: the more someone matters to you, the more you owe them your Truth."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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