The ability to completely and safely express oneself in a relationship is critical for our wellness.
Those in a relationship where they feel heard and attended to know how lucky they are, as unfortunately, that is not always the case. We hide parts of ourselves until we feel safe enough in others’ presence to be vulnerable and brave enough to show our true selves to others.
When we feel safe enough and secure, we naturally put some walls down. This is where the relationship has the ability to grow. And suddenly, in return, others will act authentic to who they are. Together, you will be able to build and create a relationship where partners feel supported and free of judgements.
Healthy relationships are built off of open communication and understanding (or the attempt to). We crave a sense of belonging, and feeling heard and accepted for who we are and how we are bringing that calmness and confidence to that partnership.
Of course, conflicts and differences are going to arise in any relationship, no matter how strong. Communication is always something that can improve, as we need to tailor language to meet others’ understandings at times. However, we do not need to tailor our needs and values for anyone. We are responsible for sharing what we need, how we need it, and what thoughts and feelings we are holding onto because, as unfortunate as it might be, others are not able to read our minds and determine this.
This does not just apply for intimate or romantic relationships. This is true for any connection; friends, family, co-workers, and beyond. In all of our communication, it is essential to think beforehand about the information you are trying to deliver. How can you feel like you are sharing your thoughts and feelings in a way that you are comfortable with, and a way that you imagine will be received well (and similarly to mind-reading, we cannot see into the future to know for certain…but we can adjust our message in ways that we believe others will respond well to). No need to overanalyze our message, as that can lead to second-guessing what we need to share. Trust your gut, attend to your needs.
We can communicate through different mediums. One being spoken language (otherwise known as a conversation) or written (letters, email, text, etc) but we can also communicate through our body. Body language is an indication of so much. Picture someone sitting at a café with their arms crossed, moving their eyes left to right and tapping their foot repetitively. We can assume this person is not relaxed. Maybe they are anxious, maybe they are irritated. We can’t gauge it ALL in this way, but we can understand a lot!
If there is a conversation you feel inclined to have, try to envision the discussion. Where would you like the setting to be? With whom? What message would you like to deliver? How can you soothe yourself while having this moment? If you enjoy writing or find it helpful, maybe put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and jot down what is on your mind. Once we have an idea of what to expect, and what we want to share, we can better feel prepared.
Above all, the purpose is to find the comfort and the confidence to be able to share what is on your mind with those who are meaningful to you. Honor your companions and yourself by having a moment (or two) of vulnerability. What is on the other side of the conversation will surely be worth it!