“Pretending something is better than it is will not make it better. Dare to be honest about the full picture, not the softened version.” ~LMB
I’m often surprised by how many couples come into my office saying, “Things are pretty good, we just need to communicate better,” only to find that things aren’t good at all. More often than not, it’s the women making these claims. Women have been taught not to rock the boat, “be nice,” and go along to get along since the beginning of time, so it’s not surprising they struggle with watering down the seriousness of issues. Women aren’t the only ones who do this, though. Men can also water down the message for different reasons. Regardless of the reasons, though, being honest about the accurate picture is vital for healthy relationships.
Fixing even the most difficult of issues is possible if you’re honest about the problems. If, however, you don’t allow yourself to admit the full extent of the issues, then you will not be able to fix the entire problem. Saying we get along great except for our communication is almost a sham if the problem is rage and bullying. Similarly, suppose your problem is you’re lonely because your partner is often working and seldom talks. In that case, your statement is a misrepresentation (at best) of what’s truly going on for you. You owe it to yourself and to those you love to tell the real version of what you’re thinking. Few people will try to change something if they don’t think it’s broken.
One of the biggest blinders getting in the way of people sharing their full truth is fear: fear of upsetting others, fear of losing the relationship, fear of conflict, etc. Don’t allow your fear to stop you from creating great relationships and a great life. People can’t change what they don’t know is bothering you. Let them know. If the issue truly isn’t that big a deal, let it go and move on. If it is a big deal, then deal with it directly. Don’t ask for just a sliver hoping that will fix things “enough.” Share your entire truth and be clear about what you want.
Challenge: Dare to acknowledge to yourself the full picture of what is going on for you. Don’t sugar-coat it, minimize it, or pretend it’s something it’s not. Once you are honest with yourself, find the courage to be honest with those around you.