“The more intimate you want a relationship to be, the more truth you must tell.” –Martha Beck

I found myself getting angry at a show I was watching recently. In the series, one particular couple was always on again, off again. They loved each other, yet for one reason or another, they just couldn’t get together. Sometimes, it was simply timing. Other times, things happened in one of their lives and instead of talking about it, the other person assumed they knew exactly what the other was thinking and feeling. Of course, they were incorrect. It worked well to elongate the series, but at one point I got so frustrated that I yelled out, “Would you two please just talk about it!”

Early in my recovery, my therapist taught me the following as a helpful communication tool. Two examples follow:

  • “When (name the situation) happened, what came up for me was (I’m not enough and not appreciated), and how I felt about that was (angry).”
  • “When (name the situation) happened, what came up for me was (gratitude toward you), and I feel (such joy) about that!”

It is a self reflective tool. Instead of blasting off about something and then later reflecting that it could’ve been handled better, this helps us to pause first and own what we are feeling and why. We tell our truth of our experience with the situation—and the other person shares their experience of the situation using the communication tool. This process helps bring clarity as each person shares the truth of what they experienced. It is a great launching point for understanding self and others better, and also direction for further introspection and communication.

In any given situation, we have to own our feelings around what “comes up” for us. We are all triggered by things, and our triggers are not someone else’s responsibility–that is for us to own. We are each responsible for our *actions to our self and others, as well as our *reactions. This tool helps each to individually do their own inner work. Which, in turn, helps any relationship.

It’s a great gift to be in a relationship with others. It helps us to know ourselves better when things are reflected back to us, and as we take them to heart and ponder them. We often do not “see“ things about ourselves, but relationships can help us to “see.” We can get to our truth, our hearts can expand, and relationships become deeper. Win-win-win!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.