Sunday, February 15, 2009

Heart-To-Heart Talks- The Greatest Valentine's Gift

February has been an amazing month! First...a birthday where I felt loved and celebrated and then following on the heels of my birthday, Valentines day! It has, however, also been a month of deep reflection, long talks, self awareness and some raw honesty! I am up for it ALL!

Bring it on!

Those of you who know me and love me know that I love "heart-to-heart" talks. These are the kinds of conversations where masks are peeled back, the phones are turned off, no one talks on a cell phone to someone else while I am there, and the focus is just on "us"...whoever "us" might be!

When the girls were growing up we had family meetings. Sometimes heart-to-heart talks happened there. More often than not they happened in one-to-one conversations, sometimes by a fire, sometimes on a porch huddled in quilts. They were affectionately (and not so affectionately) called "A Come To Jesus Meeting!"...which holds a certain ominous sound of...yikes this is a tell the truth moment..the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

While I savor this kind of honesty, truthfully I often enter these intimate moments with some fear and dread. What will I hear? How will I need to grow and change? What if this relationship isn't strong enough to withstand this truth telling moment?

Many of the heart-to-heart talks I've had in my 62 years have been initiated by me. Others have been initiated by the other person. In every case, "The Talk" was long desperately needed to happen to restore life, honesty, vibrancy, clarity, integrity, and mutuality to the relationship. The air needed to be cleared, even though the cost might be the end of a relationship as I previously knew it.

In short, as I reached fifty I said more of what was the truth in my heart, no matter the cost. As I reached transparency and authenticity doubled! It seems that life is short and pretence sucks the life out of me.

Now please do not think that my self disclosure bleeds all over the place. I am not one to dump my feelings all over another person inappropriately. I also know (usually) when it is "smart" to keep my mouth shut.

I choose this JUST DON'T SAY IT option when:

*Nothing is gained by more honesty. I have put myself out there, and there is no positive return to keep doing so. I have built in radar for well-constructed facades, and I'm no longer very good at pretending that things are OK with some folks ..when in truth they are not. Some relationships can't be "fixed", even when you wish they could be. My radar knows when a person genuinely likes me and cares about me...or they don't. It's all about behavior, not just words. So when they really don't care, but pretend to care, I eventually shut down. It is just too painful to be the only one who cares in a relationship. We may both know it's
a done deal, but ettiquete says just move them out to a distant emotional ring and as John Lennon said.."Let it be!"

* I have apologized and have not been forgiven. For me, this shuts a door. It's a statement that the person is done with me. I make mistakes. I am flawed. But so are those people. I think forgiveness sets US free, even if it doesn't change what has happened. If they truly can't forgive me that is a signal that it is time to move on. I still love them, that doesn't change, but I distance myself from them and there is no point in trying to make the relationship closer.

*It is clear that I am not a priority to the other person. They only kinda, sorta put up with me out of obligation of some sort. Not my cup of tea!

I will make a run at making almost all relationships work better, but when my run hits roadblock after roadblock...common sense kicks in. Sometimes that takes me a long, long time to come to .
I never want to "give up" on anyone, and I don't want them to give up on me.

We took the Jay Hall Conflict Inventory in Graduate School, and I was off the charts in wanting to try and try again...even after a relationship had run its course. My faculty advisor asked me a thought provoking question: "Linda, why do you keep trying to revive something that is clearly OVER?" Great question.

So, in summary, I am letting go and letting God when it comes to some folks. I still love them, but I'm not going to try to improve a relationship that the other person really doesn't want to be in with me. There are too many others to focus on where mutuality, respect and love abound in great measure!! That's where I will put my energy! :)

I WILL have heart-to-heart talks all day long with :

*Those I love who also love me. These people are CONGRUENT. We have a problem? You are mad at me about something I did or said? Let's put it out on the table and talk it through!! There are often glorious results to those chats. Our mutuality requires a commitment from them and from me. This is NOT a one-sided relationship and I am not having to second guess what their remarks mean. They want honesty, but they also give honesty to me.

* Those who WANT to be in a relationship with me and are committed to our mutual growth!
In those relationships heart-to-heart talks bring clarity, new understandings, and a greater depth of self-awareness and other awareness! This sense of being a priority to them makes a difference. Am I a PS in their life? An after thought? Are they someone who gives as much to our relationship as they take?

My favorite Valentine's gift this year was a heart-to-heart talk with my beloved hubby Bert that began on Friday night, February 13th, (and I stayed up until MIDNIGHT because we were still talking). Some of you are reviving yourselves right now at the thought I stayed up that late. Since I am usually up at 3-4am every day, I tend to go to bed early. But NOT this night.

And we were still talking and trying to understand the next day! After 25 years of marriage, we are both STILL committed to personal growth and growing as a couple! This heart-to-heart talk was water to my thirsty soul!

It's Sunday morning, and my Valentine is now up, so it's time to set aside this post so Bert and I can talk again in person!

On that note..I send you love and a huge God Bless!

And by the way, if you read this post and say to yourself..You know what? I am overdue to have a heart-to-heart talk with Linda, I invite you to call me and open that door! I am waiting on the other side!

Love Linda


Our Family said...

I love this post! I know exactly how you feel. It is difficult to put energy into relationships where people seem closed. There are SO many other people in our lives that would love to have a piece of that time and energy! I love you and appreciate our open relationship. I know that we've had some easy talks and some extremely difficult talks over the last 29 years...but I cherish them ALL. We've gotten through them and are closer for it!

I love you!

Love, Me

Kayla Jode said...

Oh Nana, I LOVE heart-to-heart talks and know exactly how you feel about it! Hope to see you soon and perhaps have one? I've been dying to see you!!! Love you and Bopsy!!!!

Dios Vengador said...
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jessithompson said...

Great post, Mom. I love you and your willingness to be authentic even when it's hard.

Finding Comfort in Kindness...sharing from the heart

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