Cruelty-free truth-telling is a relational skill.
Pretending is little more than desperation and slow heartbreak dressed up in the robes of connection. It is an illusion, a flimsy disguise.
Pretending not to know what we need, pretending not to know what we feel, and pretending not to know what is happening in our relationships does not make the heartbreak and disconnection any less real.
We are relational beings. We crave closeness and connection because closeness and connection are our birthright.
. and .
Without the skills for cultivating and sustaining closeness and connection, harmony in our relationships disappears as mysteriously as it appeared.
There is no more direct route to deeper connection than honesty, even when the truth is that we need some distance between ourselves and people with whom we are in less-than-nurturing relationships.
When I say that I can help you have more joy & connection and less suffering, I don’t always mean that our work together will immediately (or ever) bring you closer to the person or people with whom you are currently in relationship. It is also true that this realization can come with pain. It is reasonable to grieve the closeness we wanted and did not get in our most important relationships.
Joy is the long game. Connection starts inside us, with acknowledging what is true.
When I say that I help people have “better” relationships, what I really mean is that I help people have more honest relationships. Better is healthier, and healthier isn’t always closer.
Sometimes healthy, right relationship means a bit—or a lot—of distance. Ask a toxic ex… or don’t. There are times when we need a good deal of space from a person or group of people to allow what would otherwise be a rather timid, little love to take root, unfold, and expand without being assaulted by our proximity to nonsense, unmet expectations, or harm. I believe every bit of our love is worth that kind of awareness, honesty, protection, and care.
What are you pretending not to know?
What truth could you tell to yourself or another without cruelty?