JUST STEP OVER IT
Few things can be as harmful to relationships as unspoken truths. Unspoken truths are those things that are really bothersome to us that we refuse to share with those we love. I hear unspoken truths often as I work with my clients. The things “not” said. These things I have been trained to listen for, but what about those of you who are not trained to “hear” these unspoken truths?
The unspoken truth is often felt rather than heard.
The husband says to the wife, “I’m working late tonight. Don’t wait up”. She feels uneasy and thinks, “Why is he not telling me where he is going or why he will be so late?” But, fearing conflict, she just lets it go (steps over it). The next day she is distant with her husband because she is still uneasy about last night’s situation. He realizes that she is distant, but not wanting to “rock the boat” he remains silent (steps over it).
A mother is talking to her grown daughter on the phone and the daughter says something to offend the mother. The mother lets it pass (steps over it) because she wants to have a good relationship with the daughter. Several times the next day the mother remembers what the daughter said and feels hurt all over again. The next time that they talk the daughter can tell that her mother is distant. She “feels” the distance. She says nothing (steps over it), however, not wishing to start a discussion that might lead into an argument.
Can you see how these things can lead to disconnection between the people involved? Every time we “step over” the unspoken truth we put distance between ouselves and those we love.
By the same token, we need to be careful in situations that might cause injury to those relationships we hold dear. I am not suggesting that we “confront” each other. I am not suggesting that you become the “unspoken truth police” with constant reminders to speak the unspoken truth. I am simply suggesting that it would improve our relationships immensely if we would take the time to collect our thoughts and then go back and speak our truths. If we do this often enough, we become quite good at it and then we can often speak our truths on the spot without much thought. It is all a matter of training ourselves to notice the unspoken truth, we make a decision about how to deal with the unspoken truth, and then act on that decision. Relationships are not usually harmed by the truth, but they are often harmed when unspoken truths pile up and assumptions are made.
An unspoken truth occurred between me and someone I care about just the other night. She said something that hurt my feelings. I stepped over it, feeling that it would do little good to say anything about it at that time. Now I have a choice to make. Should I call her and tell her that my feelings are hurt, and clear the air, or should I remain silent knowing that the relationship will remain strained if I don’t speak up? It is a difficult decision. It is one that I have not yet decided how to handle. The thing to notice here is that I am deciding. I am intentionally deciding how to handle it. I will, in the next few days, make a decision and proceed with it. Is the relationship worth me “putting myself out there?” I don’t yet know, but I will tell you that I will follow the same steps that I am about to outline for you in the Coaching Challenge. You see, even the coach is hard at work on these suggestions. It makes your life more peaceful and purposeful. I promise!!!.
- Get your journal out.
- Think of a person that is important to you and write their name at the top of the paper.
- Examine your innermost thoughts and feelings about your relationship with this person. Are there unspoken truths between the two of you?
- Write out any unspoken truths you thought of. These can be on your part or their part. Is there anything between you that needs to be cleared up?
- What would your relationship be like with this person if you cleared up the unspoken truths?
- What will it be like if you don’t?
- Is the relationship worth it to you? If so, go forward and clear it up, if not…just know that there will remain a distance between the two of you and move on.