*This is a guest post from Kirstie over at Daily Zen. She is sharing some of her thoughts on communication and the importance of talking about difficult and intimate subjects should they appear. Thanks!*
Communication is an undisputed key to successful relationships. Whether you want to connect with a partner or a parent, a new friend or an old one, conversation is of the essence.
However, there are some things that aren’t too easy to talk about.
Sometimes they’re things that make us feel vulnerable or upset. Sometimes we have to expose a flaw in someone we care about a lot. Sometimes we have to admit to something we would rather pretend hadn’t happened. Sometimes we have to risk upsetting someone to make sure they know the truth. Sometimes, conversations can be difficult to have.
These are the most important conversations.
You can talk to someone for years and never say anything meaningful or important. But the things that are the hardest to speak about are the ones that will best secure someone’s place in your life.
Being able to open up to someone, even when it’s hard, is what proves how much they mean to you. It proves how much you’re willing to show your vulnerabilities in front of them. It proves that you want them to know even the hidden parts of you that you are still too scared to show everyone. It proves that you are willing to show them your pain, your imperfections and your truest self.
To actually share all of those things with someone else can be terrifying.
It can feel like a huge risk to show someone something that intimate and personal; it can seem like you are giving them ammunition that they could use to hurt you – should everything go awry. Even if you trust them with everything else, that one last thing – that private, personal thing – can still be hard to share.
That seeming risk is what makes it so important. It shows you that you trust in yourself, as well as the other person.
The fact that you’re thinking of bringing this up at all shows that you need to do it. If it’s something you’re thinking so deeply about, it’s not something that will go away. Chances are, even thinking about it makes you feel uncomfortable. There are lessons to learn when you work through it; when you take responsibility for your own well-being. It’s not something you should learn to ignore.
And if you try to, then you’re insulting the trust you have within this relationship. You’re admitting to yourself that you don’t think things will go well. Or that you’re scared they will go well. Or that you’re just scared.
However, in the face of any difficult conversation, the important thing to remember is that how you choose to handle it will define the strength of your connection. If you can see the awkwardness and discomfort through, together, and share every concern you have honestly, it shows that you have something of true value in this person who cares so greatly for you. You may even get so good at this that you are never uncomfortable and awkward talking about things. Nothing needs to be taboo.
If it doesn’t go well, and you were right to be nervous, remember that you’re better off without that person. You should be able to trust that person with everything, being truly intimate. Someone will listen to you. They’ll understand and they’ll treat you right.
Keeping a secret from someone you care about, perhaps for the rest of your life, never knowing what they’d think if you told them, is no way to live.
You won’t know how strong your trust is until you test it. The uncomfortable, awkward, sometimes painful conversations that we have to take are the ones that do that. They may not be pleasant, but they mean the most to every relationship.
Author bio: Kirstie was born in Luton, but left for London to study Creative Writing at university. She now writes for Daily Zen; a site that helps people be positive and let go. She likes comedy, cabaret and musty old libraries. Twitter @ActuallyKurt