What’s the toughest part of loving someone well?

April 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Truthtelling | 6 Comments
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As a recovering “good girl” (one who works overtime to protect herself by trying to be perfect, keeping others happy, and avoiding conflict at all costs), certainly the toughest part of loving someone well is telling the truth about who I am.

And yet, learning to step out of fear and self-protection, and expressing my truth in as caring a way as possible is the essential element in living authentically.

I would hazard a guess that for many of you, like me — whether you’ve spent much of your life hiding your true self behind being “good” or “tough” or “focused on fun” — truth-telling in your meaningful relationships can feel terrifying. Because you may have experienced a long time ago that when you honestly shared your feelings and needs, you were minimized or ignored or abused or abandoned. (For more details on key styles of relating, see Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart, even if sexual abuse is not a part of your story.)

What could be more important than engaging with a process that supports you in trusting and loving yourself, so you can love others well?

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  1. I’ve had some life-changing lessons in truthtelling in the last 4-5 months. Pretty powerful!

  2. For me learning to accept people as they are and not trying to change them, convince them to see my point of view, persuade them to cherish my values, all those have been some of my hardest challenges.

    I want to learn to love others as they are. I would welcome ideas on how best to do that.

    As I reflect upon why I want to change others, often fear was at the core. If I can at least recognize that I often feel fearful over differences, that can be a starting point for me.

    If God is my strength and shield, then He is the person to whom I should look when I do feel fearful.

    I’d love to hear what others have to say.

  3. As I continue learning to love and accept myself as I am — always growing but releasing the old patterns of performance and perfectionism — I find that loving and accepting others comes more easily. Along with this comes releasing of fear over conflict and an embracing of difference as an opportunity for richer relationship. I depend on trusted others — living, in spirit, in books — to walk with me in my process of releasing and embracing.

  4. Augh! You’re pinning this “good girl” to the wall! Growing up, my mom minimized many of our feelings/needs. Then I married a strong “truth-teller” who, in his unhealthy moments, goes into defensive or attack modes when I express feelings/needs. We are in what appears to be a life-long process of practicing vulnerability, truth accepting, and truth telling. Thanks for probing these critical issues, Ellen.

  5. Laura – how great that you and your husband are committed to keep learning how to love one another — each day — more wholly and graciously. And that you’re continually evolving beyond the good girl.

  6. I to am on a journey to find myself and appreciate who I am

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