The Care and Feeding Of Your Relationships
So the last blog I posted had a recipe for using your voice in your relationships. Having a voice, being able to speak up for yourself, is an important skill in life and it’s a crucial skill in healthy relationships. But speaking up for yourself has to include these essential components: being kind and compassionate while using your voice.
You might ask- “Ok- what if I get confident, and even fearless about using my voice, that’s good right? People around me will know what I am thinking, feeling and experiencing, so I won’t get pushed around anymore.”
Ah-ha! Gotcha. That is the kind of the trap I fell into. You see, I had a bad marriage way way back and I lost my voice in it. I was afraid to speak up after being treated unkindly for a very long time. But I got out, got therapy and got my voice back. Then I felt confident that I could (and should!) use it all the time. Turns out that this bossy style isn’t a super attractive quality in me. Or in anyone.
Not having my voice for a long time left me yearning to use it. Then I had to re-learn how to use it. Using my voice with mindful intention is a KEY SKILL in caring for my relationships now. The truth is that I want to be kind whenever possible. Especially with people I love and cherish. And guess what? It’s always possible to be kind- even when I don’t feel charitable. It does take effort. And there is a pay-off.
Our family and love relationships thrive when we add in the caring and indispensable element of loving kindness. In my second marriage, I have learned to use my voice and to employ kindness while doing so. My husband is glad that I can be assertive and he deeply appreciates it when I think to speak with loving kindness. Because the bossiness thing ain’t so pretty, as I mentioned. I sometimes forget and get bossy, or say things without thinking them through. I can tell almost instantly how those unfiltered words “ding” my partner or family member. If you are alive on the planet earth, you have probably “dinged” someone you loved too. But if you value your relationship you know you want to lessen those mis-steps of speech and work on being loving and kind, while being open and authentic. (And of course, make good apologies when you do mis-speak.)
You can be mindful with how you talk to your loved ones too. Using your breath to calm your feelings can help you to choose your words wisely, especially when you feel the need to advocate for yourself in the moment when things are feeling less than perfect. Speak up while remaining aware that you have the power to lift others up with your voice. The people you love will be so glad that you did. Then watch them perk up like flowers that just got watered 🙂