What if we knew how to be completely honest about our motives, feelings, and behaviors?
Jenny and I often practice trying to own exactly what’s happening for us and it’s incredible how vulnerable, yet freeing, it can feel. I’ve come to find that honesty is not so black and white. Sometimes, I’m literally believing my own BS and I am unable to step out of blame, delusion, or defensiveness.
We also help clients do this and it’s amazing how the strategies to avoid ownership come bubbling to the surface. There’s no need to beat ourselves up. We all do it and we probably always will, on some level. However, when we shine the spotlight of awareness on our true nature, the drama, discomfort, and fear tend to slowly dissipate over time. In fact, what begins to arise are feelings of compassion, love, and humor for our shared world and experience.
Here are some examples of what honest communication might sound like:
“Hey honey, I’m feeling extremely tired from work so I’m going to eat as much food as I can and sit in front of the TV for the rest of the night so I can avoid feeling the fear that I feel trapped in this unfulfilling job.”
“Will you please stop leaving your dishes out? I woke up with anxiety about money, business, and our relationship and I am avoiding feeling it. I’m hoping that you get defensive so that we can play out our drama and I will have more evidence that you are the problem.”
“What’s up? Do you want to make fun of the opposite gender and talk about how immature and stupid they are? I’m feeling insecure in my ability to form a real partnership and putting others down temporarily helps me avoid owning that.”
“I’m feeling afraid of you so I’m going to walk on eggshells and not tell you, so that I can avoid conflict. Later on, I’ll try to pretend that I ever felt that way.”
“Is it cool if I pretend that I see a future with you, even though I just want to hang out with you occasionally and have sex?”
“Hey FB friends! I’m posting something my ex did without acknowledging their side of the story. I’m hoping that you will co-sign my BS and tell me that I’m right so that I won’t have to take responsibility for my feelings, my decisions, and my fear of doing inner-work.”
“Hey sweetheart, I’m going to keep the fact that I watch porn from you so that I don’t have to deal with your feelings around it or confront my own compulsion. In my head, I will create a story that it doesn’t affect anyone, everyone does it, and I need to watch it in order to get my sexual desires met.”
“Who wants dessert?! I’m trying to ramp up the excitement for sugar and normalize the fact that many of us are overweight. While we are eating, we can talk about how we usually eat healthy so that we feel better about our choice.”
Any of these sound familiar?
To be fair, I picked up most of these from my own life so, the joke’s on me!
Have a good laugh, but also take some time to question and contemplate.
What is really happening?
What am I really feeling?
Where am I avoiding taking responsibility?
The Truth will set you free…
Joe and Stacy met when they were fairly young. They both came from good families and they instantly feel in love with each other. It seemed like a match made in heaven and they soon set out to start a family.
There were no signs of struggle, anger, or insecurity for either of them and they praised each other daily. They began to raise their first child and then another baby appeared, soon after. Everything was looking up for this bright, vibrant, young family.
Then, one day, Stacy found herself walking around the house in a daze and she couldn’t figure out what was going on. The kids were asleep, her husband was away at work, and she began to wonder, “Is this it?” Not wanting to feel sad or negative, she immediately busied herself with some laundry and pushed the thought out of her mind.
Not long after, Joe came home and he noticed that Stacy didn’t greet him in her usual manner. She was busy with the kids and so he slowly walked over to the couch, sat down, and turned on the television.
When they sat down for dinner that night, it was obvious that something had shifted, yet they both followed through with their usual conversation about how work was going, what the kids were doing, and the holiday trip that was coming up.
That night, they both got ready for bed, laid down and closed their eyes. Neither one was aware that they were both still awake, with their minds spinning. As they got ready in the morning, Stacy asked Joe how he slept. “Good.” he said. “How about you?” “Good.” Stacy responded.
Months went by without another episode until the night that Stacy blurted out that she was feeling stressed. Joe didn’t want his wife to feel sad so he attempted to comfort her. “Honey, you are a great mother and wife and I don’t want you to feel sad.” She felt some comfort as Joe turned his attention towards her, but her underlying feeling didn’t change. “You’re right. I have no reason to be sad.”
It was a few more months before anything else popped up. Even though every day felt much the same for both Joe and Stacy, the kids were growing up and everything was in order. However, Joe had noticed that their sex life had begun to atrophy. They still performed once or twice a week, but it just felt flat and Stacy never seemed that interested.
So, one night as they lay in bed, Joe tells Stacy that he has been feeling stressed lately. “Honey, you’re a great father and husband. I don’t want you to feel sad.” Joe responded, “You’re right. After I finish this project at work, I’m sure I’ll feel better.”
In that moment, the agreement was made. Stacy and Joe both agreed to hide their sadness and frustration from themselves and each other. If negative feelings came up, they would attach the feeling to stress from the outside world and then, they wouldn’t have to feel the uncomfortable feelings or take responsibility for their inner world.
What can you relate with in this story?
What advice would you give the Stuffer's?