This is not a blog about my Dad and I, but is about the value for all relationships if we know and understand ourselves enough to express what we need and want, and to trust ourselves to express it in ways that will create positive connection instead of disharmony.
It is also about being honest over believing you need to be responsible for protecting others from the truth. I have always maintained that even a challenging truth is better than any other kind of conversation.
What has compelled me to write this was a most interesting conversation I had with my Dad the other day. During the conversation it became glaringly obvious that I wasn’t trusting him.
Wow was I shocked when it hit me right in the middle of the conversation that I didn’t trust him. I mean gobsmacked, couldn’t speak, heart in mouth, as this awareness went profoundly against my belief about our relationship. I thought I could trust my Dad implicitly and of course I can in so many ways. I do trust my Dad to be there for me always, I trust him to protect me in the usual ways a Dad looks after his girl, I trust him to listen to me, to have compassion for me, he is really great when I cry because all he says is “there there and I love you” or “wish I was there to give you a hug” and he is still reliable to support me whenever I need help. Let me be really clear that my father is the kindest, most loving, caring, special man and I am honoured and proud to be his daughter.
I love him with all my heart.
Having said that I also don’t trust him. I don’t trust him when it comes to telling me the truth. Let me explain before you are shocked. He doesn’t overtly lie, no no no, he would never ever lie, he is a man of honour but he doesn’t tell me the truth in a few ways; by omission, by deflection or by being nice.
He is so nice and accommodating that I can’t trust him to tell me the truth about what he really wants and needs. He won’t tell me the truth because he loves me, is afraid and doesn’t trust me.
From long experience I know that he will not be honest if he thinks telling me the truth will hurt my feelings, he will not tell me something if it may upset me or if he is worried I may disapprove or disagree or any myriad of things that he perceives might compromise the balance of our relationship. He will always acquiesce to what I want instead of telling me what he wants. He doesn’t TRUST me to hear his TRUTH.
One standard conversation we always have is around getting together and when I ask him what he would like to do or where he would like to go, his standard response is “whatever you would like sweetheart”
This is my Dad’s standard response to most things and with most people. Like I said he is the nicest man you could meet, except if I ask him if he will look after the cat. He is clear about that. NO cat……. 🙂 I could tell he was being truthful then.
My Dad always tries to avoid any potential conflict or upset so his strategy for that is to be nice, accommodating, compromising, easy going and that is not always what he wants or needs, but will do it anyway.
Do you know anyone like that?
So the other day when we were talking, I was trying to understand what he really wanted about a very important issue and all of a sudden I could feel how I was not trusting what he was saying to me, I mean I could really feel it in the centre of my being that I did not trust him to tell me the truth. I realized in that moment how “being nice” is not always honest and that in itself can be compromising to any relationship. My Dad’s lifelong fear of any negative responses from anyone led us down this path that was a less than authentic or honest dialogue with distrust on both sides. To be fair most of us have a little bit of this fear leftover from our childhoods and is an operating strategy many use in relationships.
On my Dad’s side he was being overly responsible for my feelings and not trusting I could cope with the truth and there was me, intuitively knowing he wasn’t telling me the truth and not trusting what he was saying. I have to admit to feeling really sad, but only for a minute, when I realized how liberating this new awareness was for both my Dad and myself.
This may sound simple to you, however for me, it was very profound as it explained my lifelong distrust that people do not tell the truth, that we hide behind being nice, politeness, compromising, pretending to be easy going when we aren’t, keeping the peace at all costs, going along because we are afraid of rejection, upset or judgement, hence my path to coaching and counselling. I have always felt the need to understand and to learn the deeper truth of peoples feelings and experiences and through my own life mistakes and disasters the importance of effective, authentic communication and how expressing ourselves in positive ways will create healthier and more successful relationships personally, professionally and globally.
Not only that but it explains my rather tenacious need to be curious and dig deep to find what the truth is, because for me knowing the truth means I can relax and trust someone, it means I won’t go into feeling responsible for others feelings, it means I can feel safe with that person. Don’t ever say anything slightly ambiguous, sarcastic, incongruent or passive aggressive because I am like a Jack Russell with a bone to get to the deeper meaning of those words.
For me when anyone whether family, friends or colleagues gift me with the simple truth it means I can just relax and be with them, I can be compassionate and not worry because the truth is just simple and they are being responsible for themselves. The truth might be challenging and we might need to sort it out but at least we know what we are dealing with.
Most people don’t set out to be dishonest, usually there is fear at the root and their intention is to either protect themselves or others, but it is a destructive and unfortunate strategy for relationships because it doesn’t get you what you really want and for most of us what we really want is love, to feel understood and appreciated. What we need to find is a positive path to authentic and intimate connection with others through knowing ourselves intimately and having the ability to communicate what we need and want effectively.
One thing for sure going forward, no more Miss Nice Girl for me 🙂
I will be asking for what I need and want, being honest about who I am and communicating with love and compassion because for me I believe that is the only way to successfully create positive relationships with anyone. It has taken me a lifetime to learn how to communicate effectively and my whole purpose in life is to support others to learn the skills more easily so you can put them to use right away and create more success in all areas of your life.
Now for my Dad and I, he is really lucky to have me LOL because through my lifetime of mistakes and bad communicating, I am afterall my fathers daughter, I have now learned the importance of patiently and compassionately asking questions. When I shared my AHA moment with him we ended up having a deep and meaningful conversation and finally discovered the truth.
I did follow my best
5 STEP FORMULA for CREATING SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIPS
INTENTION, OBSERVATION, FEELINGS, VALUES, REQUEST
For example and hope this is clear. Let me know if it isn’t!!!!!!!!! and I will explain further.
1. INTENTION-Explained that my intention was to understand better what he was trying to say because I was most interested in him being happy and doing what he really wanted because I loved him.
2. OBSERVATION-Told him that when he was not specific and clear about his opinion, talking about others needs and wants instead of his own. No judgement, just an observation of behaviour and my experience.
3. FEELINGS-How I felt about that and why, the whole distrust part…………
4. VALUES-Explained that I have values for honesty and authenticity because of how it adds to my ability to trust him and the quality of our relationship
5. REQUEST-Asked if he would be willing to tell me more about his reasons and what he really wanted, not what he believed others wanted or needed.
It all worked out very well and I can say in all TRUTH that I feel a deeper level of love and connection with my Dad now and hope he feels the same.
There is an interesting thing about TRUST and TRUTH. If you look at those two words they have the same root, TRU.. so if you want to build TRUST everywhere in your life then you must speak the TRUTH.
One of my favourite quotes, and I love many, but I really love this one
“THE TRUTH IS SIMPLE” but you must TRUST yourself and others to speak the TRUTH and that you build TRUST by being TRUTHFUL.
If you want to learn more about successful effective communication and how it can improve your life and relationships sign up for my blog HERE or below or to the side
My SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION MADE SIMPLE online course is almost complete and I will be sending out more news next week. Don’t miss out.
Communication really is simple…………..