confession: Part of the reason that I have struggled so much in my life is that I have a hard time communicating what I want. It is leftover agony from the rejections in my life and my desire for approval over what is right and true. I silence myself and form unhealthy relationships where I cannot express myself. When I finally lose it, it is surprising and—let’s face it—irritating to those around me because it’s inconvenient and overwhelming. It is not what they’re used to. I’m supposed to be agreeable, not inconvenient. That’s what I’ve taught people—that what I need is not important enough to be voiced.
I’m working on breaking that pattern in my own life right now. It’s super ugly, because standing in a no is harder than it sounds when you’ve just acquiesced all your life.
But also. I have learned that communication is key. Not being able to communicate effectively and with security is the killer of every relationship. If you cannot talk about what is happening with you and to you without feeling safe and supported, then what is the purpose of that relationship? If you cannot agree on the direction, then you’re walking in circles because you’re walking counter to each other. No destiny, just destruction and despair.
I’m really having to learn to redefine what it means to “agree.” I have always treated agreement as sacrificing everything I want, need, think, believe, and value. Instead? Agreeing should be working toward a common vision, common goal. What gets compromised is not your core; rather, it is the little nuanced things along the way that go back and forth for the greater good that will eventually get you to where you need to be. If you feel like you’re constantly compromising your values, the core of you, then you’re walking with someone with whom you do not agree.
This all begins and ends with communicating your needs. Upfront. when reading Dare to Lead by Brenè Brown for class, the phrase “clear is kind” stuck with me. How unkind have I been to those walking with me by withholding clarity regarding my own needs, desires, vision? How much time have I wasted—both of theirs and mine? To be clear is to give people free will, a design feature predestined by God. I’m doing so, you’re providing them an opportunity to choose whether or not they want to walk with you.
All else is… well? It’s manipulation.
Once someone has chosen to walk with you, only then can you build the connection and community necessary to make your vision come to pass.