If I could give one piece of relationship advice, it would be to be honest.
But honesty is not simply saying whatever pops into your head. What it really entails is admitting what’s behind surface emotions, and reactions of anger and irritation.
It means digging into the hurts and pain within the heart.
It means learning how to be truly vulnerable with the safe people in your life who you love and who love you back. (And it’s speaking the truth and setting boundaries with people outside of that safe circle, too.)
Being married has revealed how much of my life I spent stuffing issues and holding people at arm’s length under the lie of “being the better person.”
I was going to let go. I was going to overlook an offense. I would be a forgiving person.
Unfortunately, I often wasn’t “letting go” or overlooking or forgiving. Instead, I was stuffing down hurts. I was throwing the door open to resentment and bitterness.
Looking back, I see how often I broke friendships as a result of that behavior. I withdrew my heart, my affection and myself with each stuffing episode–sometimes emotionally and sometimes physically.
But I am learning. And I hope you learn this lesson without the heartache I’ve experienced.
Learn to share the broken parts of yourself, the pain of your past and the triggers of the present. Set boundaries with the people in your life to prevent bitterness and resentment.
Stop carrying around the baggage of unspoken pain, and holding people to expectations you’ve never shared.
Speak truthfully without accusation or blame, but in a way that keeps your heart soft and open.
Frankly, there’s so much more peace and joy and LIFE in living honestly than there is in hiding and stuffing pretending to be strong.
Because none of us are that strong. At least, I know I’m not.