Honesty in Communication

This is post 3 of 5 in the series “Com­mit­ment in Relationships”

Honesty in Communication  —  this is definitely a self-help project, as all you can do, even in relationship, is work on yourself.

Of Wayne’s many books, the one clos­est to today’s top­ic is: The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever.

Here’s the list we’re working on:

• I can only com­mit to an action  —  to some­thing I will do.
• I com­mit to being in rela­tion­ship with you. Here is what I com­mit to:
• I will be open, hon­est and vul­ner­a­ble in my dai­ly com­mu­ni­ca­tion with you.
• I will tell you, today, who I am and what I am think­ing.
• I will tell you, today, every­thing I have done, and what it meant to me.
• I will lis­ten to you with curios­i­ty and inter­est, today.
• I will accept that you are who you are today, and will inte­grate who you are today with my pic­ture of you from “yes­ter­day.”
• I will make myself ful­ly avail­able and present to and with you, today, and engage in clear and con­cise com­mu­ni­ca­tion with you for not less than 30 min­utes, today.
• I will own all of my thoughts, feel­ings, emo­tions and inter­pre­ta­tions, work­ing to take full respon­si­bil­i­ty for each and every one of them. If I slip and go into blam­ing, I will stop myself, apol­o­gise, and return to self-respon­si­bil­i­ty.
• I will active­ly encour­age you to lis­ten to me and to active­ly hold me to the per­for­mance of what I have com­mit­ted to.
• I will com­mit to all of these things, with­out any expec­ta­tion of any­thing from you, as all I can ever com­mit to is to what I can and will do.

Today we’ll look at the following three points from the above list:

  • · I will be open, hon­est and vul­ner­a­ble in my dai­ly com­mu­ni­ca­tion with you.
  • · I will tell you, today, who I am and what I am thinking.
  • · I will tell you, today, every­thing I have done, and what it meant to me.

Honesty in communication
An hon­est dis­cus­sion,
a heart­felt sense of “being with.”

The only way to build and main­tain an excel­lent rela­tion­ship is through the rig­or­ous imple­men­ta­tion of use­ful actions. To repeat the obvi­ous, the key to suc­cess­ful any­thing is action as opposed to talk.

This week’s three points are absolute, as opposed to conditional.

In the past I’ve men­tioned how much Dar­bel­la and I have learned from our study of OSHO, the Indi­an guru “for­mer­ly know as Bhag­wan Rajneesh.”

In his book Inti­ma­cyOSHO makes the case for self revelation:

Unless you drop all your repres­sions and inhibitions — which are the gifts of your reli­gions, your cul­tures, your soci­eties, your par­ents, your education — you will nev­er be able to be inti­mate with some­one. You will have to take the ini­tia­tive.” pg viii
“You have to accept your­self in your total­i­ty. If you can­not accept your­self in your total­i­ty, how can you expect some­body else to accept you? ” pg viii

OSHO said that it is “nor­mal” for some­one to hate an aspect (or sev­er­al) of them­selves, and then expect their part­ner to “accept them as they are,” or “fix them.” This is weird  —  such peo­ple believe that love is all about the oth­er per­son behav­ing as they want them to.

OSHO wondered why anyone would accept you, if you don’t accept you.

One answer to this ques­tion is that one’s part­ner also hates him or her­self, so there’s a meet­ing of two dys­func­tion­al peo­ple; this is the mean­ing of the adage, “Mis­ery loves company.” 

Because many mar­ry or get togeth­er out of a need to be uncon­di­tion­al­ly accept­ed, each per­son expects the oth­er per­son to “make it all bet­ter.” This is a sure recipe for disaster.

Before we dig in, let me also note that, in the latter two points for the day, I have included the word “today.” It’s there for a reason.

Often, peo­ple in love say the strangest things, like “I’ll love you for­ev­er! I’ll always be there for you! I love every­thing about you.” This is the height of dumb, as all we ever have is… you guessed it… today.

Love makes us stu­pid, and so does day-to-day liv­ing. Giv­en our great­est fears  —  death and change  —  we seem almost com­pelled to hold on to what is hap­pen­ing by claim­ing it will go on for­ev­er. Then, when for­ev­er ends, (as it always does) the accu­sa­tions of “You lied to me!” come to the fore.

Lets get back to our points

Today’s three points are all the same. Each requires the speak­er to be open, hon­est, and reveal­ing. There can be no hid­den mate­r­i­al, no hid­den agen­das. This requires great discipline.

OSHO wrote about the origins of our resistance to self-revelation. 

It’s pret­ty sim­ple. We hate whole aspects of our selves. We feel our emo­tions direct­ly, yet fear their expres­sion. We cre­ate movies in our heads, and thank god no one else can see the things we say and do in there. We are sure that if our part­ner ever knew what went on inside of us, they’d run for the door.

And we assume that we are the only one like this. We pray that no one catches us out, and hope that, if we slip, our partner will cut us slack.

Then, our part­ner lets one of their cats out of the bag, and we pounce. “You lied to me! You dis­ap­point­ed me! You’ve been lying to me!” We con­ve­nient­ly for­get all of the crap we’ve been stuff­ing, and turn the whole thing inside out, judg­ing “the oth­er” our part­ner has become.

Forever, we have been suggesting the alternative  —  self-responsible self-revelation. The suggestions above are the beginning of true intimacy.

It’s a sim­ple as, “If I have noth­ing to hide, there is noth­ing hidden.”

Note: If your present rela­tion­ship needs work, well…
check out The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever.
It’s my rela­tion­ships book… you’ll find all the help you need!

Now, admit­ted­ly, this flies in the face of every bit of cul­tur­al con­di­tion­ing we’ve received.

We’ve been trained to blame and min­imise  —  to give the “prop­er excus­es.” “I am so angry, and it’s his fault.” Or, “I am real­ly sad, and you would be too if all of this had hap­pened to you.” Or, “Here are all the rea­sons I can’t stop criticizing.”

Ther­a­py and Body­work are two expe­ri­ences that lend them­selves to the prac­tice of being open, hon­est and vul­ner­a­ble  —  it’s kind of the point. Excus­es for a feel­ing are not required. In fact any ther­a­pist worth their salt will tell you to park the rea­sons and get to the feel­ings, as the rea­sons are just sto­ries you’ve made up after the fact to jus­ti­fy what you are feeling.

I’d love to tell you that most of the peo­ple I saw for ther­a­py were ful­ly open in their self-dis­clo­sure, but that would be untrue. The con­di­tion­ing to lie to one­self and to oth­ers runs deep. The excus­es and expla­na­tions are often all the per­son knows. That is the point of ther­a­py  —  to get past the super­fi­cial part to what’s real­ly going on.

Trust, interestingly, is not created by being in a relationship. Trust is a personal trait or perspective.

What I mean is that I do not cre­ate the con­di­tions for the per­son I’m with to feel safe enough to speak. If this were the case, oth­ers could only speak their truth when the peo­ple around them were behav­ing perfectly.

No, as OSHO says, this project is total­ly about one’s will­ing­ness to open up and say what’s going on, because that’s the only way to get any­where. In this process of say­ing, of reveal­ing, one learns to respect and for­give and (hor­rors!) even like one­self.

Revelation and acceptance is an inside job.

Be aware, this week, of how many times you keep your­self from being ful­ly open and reveal­ing with your ther­a­pist, your part­ner, your­self. Lis­ten and see if you’re pre­sent­ing excus­es and jus­ti­fi­ca­tions as opposed to open, hon­est, vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Then, see what hap­pens as you begin to self-disclose.

And remem­ber, you may just dis­cov­er that some of the peo­ple you’ve had around you for a while real­ly don’t want to know you, don’t want hon­esty, because they are afraid of let­ting their stuff out. Bet­ter to know this and either go for ther­a­py or find a new part­ner. (Or both.)

Life is short, and tak­ing your time with this work is plain­ly dumb. Make a com­mit­ment to be hon­est with your­self, open and vul­ner­a­ble and hon­est with oth­ers. And com­mit to mov­ing away from rela­tion­ships where open­ness, hon­esty, and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty is not encouraged.

You do not have for­ev­er. So, start.

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