IF YOU DON'T SPEAK ABOUT A PROBLEM, YOU CAN'T RESOLVE THE ISSUE
Far too many of us are afraid to speak up about what w3e want, what we don't like or what we're upset about. As a result, we come up with countless excuses for why we don't want to speak, such as:
- I don't want to start an argument
- I don't want to upset him/her
- I'm too tired
- It won't change anything anyway
- S/he should know—I shouldn't have to tell him
- It's not worth it
- I don't want to lose him/her or have him/her not like me
The excuses can be endless. The results, however are, are, almost without fail, the same—continued upset and no solution. If we don't speak about an issue, we can't fix it, change it or work through it. Innumerable marriages, friendships and families and even companies have crashed and burned because of unspoken upsets that grew into long-term resentments and problems. Don't let that happen in your life.
Be brave. Have the conversation. Speak the truth and be courageous enough to honor others when they're speaking theirs. If you're unhappy in your romantic relationship—compassionately talk about it with your partner. If your friendship is struggling—daringly explore the problem with your explore the problem with your friend. Regardless of whom the issue or upset is with, dare to have the conversation. Stay calm, grounded, and respectful throughout the discussion and be clear before you start about what you're not getting or what was done. Ask for what you need going forward and be clear about how important that is or isn't. If your relationship is on the brink because of this issue, be certain to inform the other person of this information.
Challenge: Anytime you hear yourself rationalizing about not having a conversation, re-think. If it's a minor issue that you can easily live with, then let it go; otherwise, have the conversation. Be clear that if you don't have the conversation, then the future outcome is in large part on you.
By Lisa Merlo Booth
Wendy Allen, Ph.D, MFT is an expert in couples and marriage therapy. She has been practicing in Santa Barbara for almost 30 years. She is the only Marriage therapist in the tri-counties using the Real Relational Living model, from which all of these ideas are based upon.