Radiance & Resonance
Information and Advice for Improving your Life and Relationships
How to Speak Your Truth, Part 2
-Jeni Wahlig, PhD, LMFT
Speaking your truth in a relationship is an incredibly powerful, important, and vulnerable gift of love to yourself and a partner. It’s the quickest way to co-creating the authentic life and fulfilling relationships you want and deserve. Speaking your truth means being honest about who you are, how you feel, and what you need. It means saying the hard and scary things—engaging with a partner in an open, honest, direct, and vulnerable way. It means owning your stuff, sharing what’s going on for you, and asking directly for what you want or need in your relationship.
Speaking your truth, however, can be incredibly difficult—first in knowing your truth and then in sharing it. Last month, we explored some of the reasons it can be difficult to know what your truth is and provided some tips for tuning into your truth. (Check it out here!) In this article, we will look at some of the reasons that sharing your truth can be so tough and offer some ideas for how to do it anyway.
What makes sharing so hard?
A lot of reasons. Here are a few of the big ones:
The common denominator in any case is, “If I share my truth, I might get hurt.” Hurt, I will add, extends to feelings of discomfort, like the way it feels when we have to watch a partner cry in response to something we did/said, or the frustration, anxiety, or sadness you feel about fighting with someone you love. No one likes to feel pain or discomfort, especially in their relationship with a partner. Because of this, people often avoid speaking their truth fully, honestly, or directly.
Is it sometimes better to not share a truth?
Withholding your truth, avoiding it, or sharing only parts of it can feel safer and easier. In most cases, it is! (At least in the short term). Is it better though? I won’t claim to know that answer for you, but I will say that in my experience, personally and professionally, it usually isn’t. When we know a truth, but are not sharing it or living it, there’s something off about our life and relationship. It’s not quite honest; we are not being as real as we could be. In doing so, we deny ourselves the opportunity to have our needs met and to live as authentically as we could. We give up the possibility of greater happiness. We also deny a partner the opportunity to meet our needs, to know us fully, and to love us in the best ways possible. Thus, we are not setting our relationship up for long-term success. Furthermore, withholding a truth may be denying a partner the opportunity to make fully informed decisions about their own life. Finally, the truth often comes out eventually—if not directly, then in the form of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, or something being off (and this has an increasingly negative effect on a relationship).
Tips for sharing your truth
If you’re feeling called to start being more honest with your partner, or to share a particularly hard truth with them, congratulations. Sharing and living your truth takes courage, a lot of it. Yet, I think it’s entirely worth it for the power it has to transform your life and your relationship. It may mean that you go through some really hard, painful, scary, or otherwise uncomfortable things first. I wish I could tell you it won’t happen that way, but it very well may. What I can tell you is that you will get through it, and that whatever lies on the other side will be better for it (eventually; give it time). Here are some tips that will help set you and your partner(s) up for success.