In my thirties, I was struggling with some issues that I didn’t have a good grip on and decided to see a therapist. She underscored the issue right away. In my quest to create the perfect world for me and for my family, I was not allowing some of my true feelings to come out. I was discounting those feelings because they would alter what I considered “perfect.” By not addressing my true feelings, I was very unhappy, and by being unhappy, I wasn’t “showing up” in my authentic life. Things could never be “perfect” if I wasn’t truthful with myself.
Her words stay with me today, when I catch myself stifling some of my words so I don’t hurt another person’s feelings or upset the apple cart of my world. She told me that if I am not honest with myself, I cannot give the other person the opportunity to adjust their behavior. i cannot expect them to change if I do not change myself. They will continue on in their pattern and I will continue on in mine, and I will not be happy. She cautioned me though: once I decide to advocate for myself, it could upset those around me even more, as they are now charged with deciding how to deal with me. The dust needs to settle, as I speak my truth.
If we don’t show up in a relationship as we truly are, we are limiting that relationship. we are not allowing the relationship to grow and develop. We are not providing an impetus for a deepening of the relationship. That relationship may look perfect to others, (we have seen those relationship s before, haven’t we?) but as long as there is not truth, it is built in a house of cards that cannot last when true hard times hit.
Our task in life is to stay in our truth, to be true to ourselves, even when we know it might affect those we love the most. And then we have to step aside and let them adjust to our changes. Scary stuff. Sometimes it will divide a relationship. But most importantly, with a strong base of mutual respect, it will make the relationship stronger.
The question for us is, are we showing up in a relationship, or are we limiting the ability for it to grow?