Communication begins with "co" for a reason; the prefix "co" means jointly, helping. Communication is connection. Communication is collaboration. Communication is a coming together to create. It only works when more than one person participates. And it works BEST when both people participate from a place of vulnerable authenticity. This means sharing! Actual sharing of honest, deep truths. And a lot of people struggle with doing this. For some reason, the thing that would make our relationships great is the thing that many of us struggle to avoid. So, what gives?
We think that admitting our STUFF makes us less attractive. Less enticing. Less mature or intelligent. Less shiny and interesting. Just less. But, the truth is that we all have stuff. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. My stuff is different than your stuff, and your stuff is different than his/her stuff. But it's still there. In all honesty, a person who owns their STUFF is a lot sexier than a person who avoids it. The person who can talk about their issues without getting super heated is a person who has looked in the mirror and is not afraid to be real. And real is who you want. Trust me on that!
So what if we could voice our needs and discuss our fears/triggers/issues in a relationship readily and without shame? How about instead of thinking about talking about our inner stuff as "hard," we reframed it to be "natural"? Wouldn't that be so cool! Truly, the simplest way to diffuse possible issues surrounding our STUFF is to just talk about it. Talk about it before there is a problem. Talk about it after there is a problem. Talk about it when nobody is riled up and everybody can listen. Talk AND LISTEN. Make sure you hear the other person's stuff as well. Then, repeat it back to them to make sure you heard it correctly.
If you are in a relationship, practice it. Take a deep breath and try talking about the things that make you tick BEFORE they make you tick. Or discuss the things that make you smile way deep down in the same way. Share your inside thoughts with your outside partner. Talk about the STUFF that makes you feel scared about a relationship, and the ways of communicating/behaving that might trigger you to respond as a less-than-perfect partner. Make a regular date to talk about these important Dos and Don'ts, or bring them up in regular conversation. Make deep, authentic communication part of your regular connection. Don't wait until they trigger you, do it now. Now is when you both can hear one another. Now is better than later!
If something has already gone down, that's ok. It happens. No relationship will be without its conflict. In fact, conflict can be a beautiful gateway to deep communication! So, relax and wait for a bit until the dust has settled. Then, have a conversation about it. A calm, gentle conversation. Talk only of your feelings and actions, no blame or attack on your partner. Do not re-enrage as you engage, stay calm. Take responsibility for your STUFF as you talk. Explain as best as you can why you triggered the way you did. Listen as they do the same. Remain open to what they have to say about their actions and attitudes. Your triggers may be strong and it can take a minute to get past them. But you can get past them! With a lot of loving communication. Work together to brainstorm ways to avoid these types of trigger in the future.
Over time, even really big issues can soften and dissipate with clear communication. And the healthy connection will deepen. Here's what you may notice if you start communicating deeply and honestly on a regular basis: Hotter sex. More laughter. Expanded joy together. More happy days instead of sad or volatile ones. A sense of contentment and ease. A stronger, more satisfying bond. Deeper commitment to one another, naturally.
Why? Because you both have shown up, STUFF and all. And every time you do that without running away or attacking the other person for it, it reinforces your commitment to one another. It tells your partner that they are safe, and it lets you know that you are safe in return. For many of us, that is really what we are looking for. A safe haven where we can be ourselves and be loved all the more for it.