I have never met a therapist who didn’t think awareness was a good thing, even if in the short run it was painful.
Often, because we are connected to other people, we may become aware of something, past or present, that disturbs us.
A first impulse might be to immediately share it with the other person, but that may not be the best thing. These days, I think everyone is carrying a pretty heavy load internally and externally. So, it’s a good idea to curate your comments in advance with sensitivity and awareness, keeping an eye on possible fall-out.
The most important thing to ask yourself before you share something that might be hard for someone else to hear is:
Will this benefit my relationship with myself or with this other person?
It’s easy to think that sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings is always going to help or heal a relationship, but that’s not necessarily true. Once words are said they can’t be unsaid. It’s worth it to take some time, maybe even a few days or weeks, to truly ask whether disclosing your truth is going to move your relationship forward.
Here are some questions to to help clarify your dilemma if you’re on the fence:
Are you telling your truth to assuage your guilt?
Are you disclosing this to unburden yourself?
Is your intention to subtly punish them?
Do you want them to feel guilty or responsible for your reaction?
Are you unconsciously, hoping they will heal or resolve something in you?
Of course, if you’re speaking your truth to enhance the relationship, that’s a completely different story.
By plumbing your own depths, you will discern your true motivation. Once you know what your intention is, and not just your knee-jerk desire, you can act on it with a greater feeling of integrity.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang