My husband is seriously awesome. But he can also be really annoying to me. When our daughter was younger and I was home with a toddler AND working full time, he would spend 3.5 months every year out of state paragliding just for the fun of it. That period of life was particularly annoying.
At first, I asked more politely for what I needed (and what we previously agreed on): alternating who was the primary breadwinner and how much we each escaped into the wilderness for our much-needed adventures. But when he didn’t honor those agreements, I became less polite, and I started to yell. Which didn’t really lead to any lasting change, either. And I felt like ass afterwards.
Clearly, I wasn’t using “wise speech,” as it’s called in the Buddhist precepts, which means speaking our truth and deeply listening.
When angry, wise speech invites us to come from a place of understanding that the roots of anger can be found in incorrect perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in ourselves and in the other person.
Sometimes we think stating our needs is speaking our truth. I even thought yelling was, in a way, speaking my truth – my anger and my needs. However, I was unintentionally leaving out the deeper truth of where my anger was coming from. For me it was fear of being left alone, of being abandoned.
I was also not using right action. I didn’t say no often enough. I lacked enforcing any of my boundaries when he broke agreements. I just … yelled. I later realized this was my version of people-pleasing. I’d rather suffer myself that risk making him uncomforatble asking him to do things he dind’t want to do or risk being alone.
I was afraid he would leave me if I did anything less than work full time and raise the kid alone a lot and said, “Go go go, sweet husband – run for the hills!” I was afraid I’d really be alone in this daunting task.
In my work I did with my coaches and therapists over the years, I also learned that the underlying reason I wasn’t speaking my truth and enforcing my boundaries was that I didn’t feel I was worthy or lovable enough to do so. It was a hard truth to realize. But it was also a relief because this was something I did have control of.
There came a point when I realized that I was worthy – that I deserved to ask for help and that I was indeed worthy of asking him to spend time with me, even if it was boring AF as I breastfed.
One day I said, “I’m tired of it taking me yelling for you to listen to me…and I realize I’ve played a part in this. I didn’t honor my own boundaries of respect and trust in this relationship, so here’s the deal…
If you can’t meet these minimum needs I’ve laid out (and I gave him a written list), then we should talk about mediation and separation, because if this is genuinely how you want to show up in a family, that’s not for me. Whoa.
It was so scary AF for me to do, but as I spoke, I realized I started to feel more calm, and I dind’t raise my voice once. I think this is because it was coming from truth and love. And it was because of that honesty and authenticity that we both got to decide if we wanted to be together.
I feel like this is a common challenge clients have – staying in relationships or leaving; or how to show up in the dating world or in a friendship without pretending to be someone they’re not.
There’s that underlying fear we all have that’s so tender: if I’m truly myself, will someone still love me, or will I be alone?
The thing is, it’s hard to know this when we’re just in our heads wondering about it. We can’t assume how someone else will react if we aren’t even showing up as ourselves in the relationship yet. The way we get clear is to actually be ourselves. And yes, it can feel scary AF.
In order to do this, we start the work to help us get clear about our inherent worthiness and loveability. Love for ourselves. Compassion for ourselves. From this place we will repel the toxic people, the people who are energy vampires, the people who want to control us – and we will attract the people who love us for us, and who respect us.
We start with having our own back – and our own heart. We can speak out truth and live our truth from a place of love and compassion – for ourselves and the other person.
That’s all we can do. The rest is up ton the other person – if they can accept and celebrate us.
I said I was willing to walk away, with love and compassion. And after my husband sat with my requests for a few long Virgo-analysis days, he came back to me and said, “Okay.” What’s crazy is he’s stuck to it ever since.
I’m not saying if we speak our truth it will change other people. But it IS the only way we will get clear if the other person can truly accept us.
Speaking our truth is definitely scary, and for good reason, as it usually stems from a more vulnerable period in our lives. As we explore any resistance to it, we can ask ourselves, “Where might this pattern be stemming from long ago, when it wasn’t safe to be authentic, to speak and live our truth?”
We can also ask, “Have I been living my truth so I can see what would happen in this relationship if I do?” Because living it is the only way we’ll truly know who really loves and accepts us. And it’s a way to get really clear about if we should stay or go.
I know many of us fear that if we do show that vulnerable part of ourselves, we might not be loved, and that we’ll be alone. But rebel, the loneliness of being surrounded by people who don’t accept the real us is a deeper suffering than being physically alone but in our truth.
What is one truth you can speak from love and compassion today? And what does that look like if you live deeper into it? What would you do – or not do?
You’re not here to make people comfortable. You’re here to be YOU. And to do the sacred work of discovering that in deeper and deeper layers. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is absofuckinglutely worth it.
Things you will learn:
// The truth behind why we fear being our true selves with others
// How we can finally find out if we should stay or go
// How wise speech and action help us get clear
// How to manage our own resistance to speaking and living our truth
// Early registration is open for the next cohort of the Adventure Mastermind at AdventureMastermind.com . Enter into the adventure of your life in a container where you’ll feel safe enough to explore your true self during this one precious life we have.
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist FB group, and tune in weekly when I go live on new topics.
// Want to dive into this work on a deeper level on your own time? To study it and practice it together with a group of people with the same goals of freedom, adventure and purpose? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.