Sharing Truths for Mutual Respect
I want to introduce you to a spectacular human named Kelly Whitaker. The moment you see Kelly's face or hear her voice, you will be wrapped in a delightful and loving energy that you will never forget. I believe Kelly was put on this earth to connect with humans and that is exactly what she does. Kelly is a communication coach...um what? As someone who majored and mastered in communications, this sounds like a dream to me. When I was a child, my teachers would report how I loved to talk. As a teenager, my mom said I should major in communications since I loved to talk. As an adult, my friends and family made me be in charge of certain things because I loved to talk. Unfortunately, a love of talking does NOT make a good communicator. Communication, as I continue to learn, work on and still fail at, involves respect, deep listening, empathy, vulnerability, courage and humility. Now that does NOT sound like a dream. That sounds hard, and it is.
Kelly pursued her work in communications because she believes that many of life's issues can be solved with direct and compassionate communication. Imagine how our lives would be different if we (and our parents, partners, bosses, co-workers, siblings, friends) had the skills to navigate difficult and nuanced conversations. Imagine the trauma, drama, toxicity, pain and suffering that could be avoided if we were able to clearly and compassionately communicate with our fellow humans. If you'd hire a health coach to get your body healthy and strong, why not hire a communication coach to also get your communication healthy and strong? This is a skill that will serve you and your fellow humans forever. Thank you Kelly for your work, energy and for sharing with us today!
Sharing Truths for Mutual Respect
Contributed by Kelly Whitaker
Recently, I had a friend who needed to break up with someone. It was a fairly casual, early-stage relationship; 1 good date, 1 ok date - a classic Bumble conundrum. She liked him fine but wasn't feeling a significant connection and decided to nip it in the bud, as opposed to letting it drag out for too long. She labored over the breakup text and had me peruse the draft prior to sending - the message was very clear and kind (though perhaps a little too overly-apologetic - it was only 2 dates, after all). She was very, very nervous to send the message, not knowing how he might respond and feeling burdened with potentially hurting him, swirled with all the other anxieties that come accessory to dating.
To take the edge off, I told her that the message was sufficient and more importantly that she really didn't owe him anything more than that. In her stress & self-doubt, she disagreed, saying she did owe him respect. And while she didn't see it at the time, that's exactly what she was giving him through this breakup text - Respect.
The most respectful thing you can do to another person is tell them your truth - Even if it may hurt for a while.
Now let me be clear -
This is not an excuse to be wildin' out there in the world wielding your brutal honesty with reckless abandon (Everyone knows That Guy who's so rude but "just being honest!". There is an important distinction between sharing your truth in a way that's constructive and compassionate verses blunt cruelty under the guise of honesty. THAT is not a good look.).
I am a diligent member of camp Is it True / Is it Kind / Is it Necessary to guide when and how these conversations should take place.
And an honest and gentle parting-of-ways from a relationship when there isn't a mutual connection is more than true / kind / necessary; it's also respectful. Because the alternative is actually worse, for longer. No one likes to be strung along. No one wants to be an Obligatory Date. No one likes to spend their time, energy, money, and singledom on a dead-end street.
Everyone deserves a partner who wants them back.
It's like when someone has some schmutz on their face; yes, telling them can be a little embarrassing and will make them uncomfortable for a hot second. But also? This will save them a DAY of embarrassment of being out in the world with schmutz on their face! No matter how you slice it, this truth is ultimately in BOTH parties’ best interest. The conversation may be uncomfortable, and it may hurt. But not nearly as much as it would have hurt if she had avoided it, left him in a space of uncertainty, and he wasted his time and energy on a person who didn't reciprocate his feelings. It was out of respect for him that she free'd him up to move on with his life and find someone who wanted him back.
While a breakup is an easy example of this playing out, it also applies to many conversations and relationship dynamics. It is a gesture of profound respect to share your truth with someone, because once you do, they will know you better. And they will get to decide for themselves how to move forward once they have all the facts. So, if there's a conversation that's been tickling the back of your brain - you know the one - why not speak up and have it? Show a little respect to the people around you, and to yourself.