How are you as a communicator? Do you talk about the things that are hard to talk about? This question has been front and center for me lately. My thinking on the matter has been spurred by the last two MenLiving blog posts (and comments) from my colleagues, Todd and Frank, the latest episode of the Zen Parenting Radio podcast, Difficult Conversations, and actions that Lisa, my wife of 28 years, and I have taken recently to explore how we are at communicating. Bottomline, just say it.
Say what? My thoughts (there are many and they all don’t make sense). What I want. What I need. That thing that am I afraid to say (for lots of reasons…most of which are made up in my head). What is happening in my life with more detail (this one is particularly important for my wife).
Why is saying it important? Saying it reveals more of how I am experiencing my life to those around me. Saying it can bring clarity to a moment. Saying it can release my burden. Saying it can help me better feel and be better in relationship with you. And my life is the best life with deep, meaningful relationships and I am not going to have them without saying it.
But how I say it is crucial. First, do no harm. My intent isn’t to hurt you or to be right (what is “right” anyways?). If we are spending time together, the intent of saying anything will most likely impact in a big or small way our relationship. Ultimately, my intent is to say it with respect and without malice (sometimes I fail), but I can’t control how you will process it. I am okay with that. I will make effort to say it as simply as I can though sometimes, I am not very eloquent, and the Boston accent can get in the way( and please forgive me if I spray it while I say it). I also will say it with the knowledge that it isn’t a declaration (though it might come off that way). I am saying it with the intent, the desire to listen, to see, to feel how you process what I have said. I am saying it with the intent to be in closer relationship with you.
Lastly, when, and where do I say it? Now. Always. Anywhere. Everywhere.