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At the Heart of It

December 7, 2011

Relationships are fraught with complications. Even when two people are deeply connected and functioning more or less on the same wavelength there are times when conflict or misunderstanding or hurt feelings erupt. Add a little spice to the personalities and you have all the ingredients for a conflagration (especially during the holidays!).

Sigh. I hate conflict. I hate dissension. More than anything I hate silence. Angry Silence. Passive aggressive silence. Manipulative silence. It consumes my soul. Even a drop of it. But yelling and verbal vitriol? Cuts to the quick. Learning the art of comfortable communication and healthy relationships is a lifetime process. TV and movies would have us believe that a snappy come-back or perfectly spoken and crafted words of wisdom can cure all ills. But, well crafted lines with well crafted responses are not reality.

And so how do we survive? How do we keep a relationship in tact in spite of conflict and disagreement? How do we heal wounds and find peace, especially when we reach the age where hurts have piled upon hurts? It’s hard to see through to the core of any issue after awhile, and no argument is ever pure.

As often as possible, it may be helpful to ask yourself, “What is my truth in this situation?”  In other words, what are you really feeling? What do you believe to be true?  The answer to this question is less about what you think and more about recognizing and acknowledging the hurt places and your core beliefs about yourself and your relationship. Unearthing those core beliefs can be very enlightening. You may discover that you are asking for something from the other that only you can give to yourself.  Or, you may discover that the other is asking for something from you that you are unable or unwilling to give.

Finding and speaking our truth is what we have to bring to any relationship. It is the thing that will help us move toward a deeper, more authentic connection with another. First, we must know what that truth is. Once we do, we will be freer to open our hearts and minds to listen, as closely and carefully as we can, without judgement, to the heart of the other.  

There is no perfect relationship. There can only be love, truth and respect and the willingness to keep trying.

© Dorothy Sander 2011

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Cully permalink
    December 7, 2011 4:14 pm

    “And so how do we survive? How do we keep a relationship in tact in spite of conflict and disagreement? How do we heal wounds and find peace?” To your questions I would also ask, How do we heal when only one of us will speak?

    • December 7, 2011 4:24 pm

      That’s a very good question Cully. Sometimes healing is a matter of degree or of letting go. If there is no communication between two people there can be no healing in the relationship. It is then up to us to heal ourselves. Be at peace with ourselves. Rest in the knowledge that we’ve done all we can do to make the relationship work and then let it go. Agree to disagree, perhaps, or letting go and moving on. When it’s family it’s a deeply painful process. I believe that no matter what we do we must seek to be at peace with ourselves. That is the job of the other as well, whether they can choose to or not is their destiny.

  2. December 7, 2011 5:17 pm

    Thank you for your clarity. I am in the same space… truth. Here are my 5 truths:
    Seek the Truth
    Accept the Truth
    Speak the Truth
    Act in the Truth
    Live the Truth

    It is often hard, so hard to follow all these truths. I try everyday!

    • December 7, 2011 5:46 pm

      Amy, your list of truths is both wonderful and daunting. We must give ourselves the grace to be the imperfect human beings that we are, even as we attempt to move beyond our limitations. Thanks for sharing your truth.

  3. Carolyn permalink
    December 7, 2011 5:28 pm

    Dorothy, I so agree with you. I have shared your words of wisdom, life experiences with friends who are in their 50’s and 60’s and they have found them so helpful, as have I.

    Thank you for sharing with us all and I look forward to more inspirations coming from you and heading my way!

    Peace and blessings. . .from Carolyn in St. George, UT

    • December 7, 2011 5:47 pm

      Thank you Carolyn! It means so much to be that you wanted to share what I have written here with friends. I hope it is of some value to them as well. Blessings to you and yours this holiday season. Dorothy

  4. vicki permalink
    December 7, 2011 5:35 pm

    beautiful. brilliant. 🙂

  5. December 8, 2011 9:53 am

    Thank you Dorothy for a lovely piece that I will share too.

    I do believe that it’s the hurts that have piled upon hurts that have taught us over the years to be true to ourselves and to speak the truth. To listen and give the other person a chance to do the same instead of speaking to manipulate and seeking a triumph.
    Some things improve with age. Patience is one of them (albeit slowly) and the desire to enjoy peace.

  6. December 9, 2011 9:33 pm

    I love your words of wisdom, Dorothy,especially “listen with your heart and let it be.” I have found when I stand in my own truth, I am on solid ground. Beautiful post. Thank you!

  7. December 5, 2013 1:59 pm

    Speaking your own truth is so important because our perceptions ARE our reality. Maintaining silence and staying in pain is assuming the role of victim, and that’s something we should never be. Sometimes, just speaking your truth and letting the other person speak his or hers allows both parties to see how different their perceptions really are.

    A beautiful and thought-provoking post, as always.

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