“I didn’t like to hear it, but I needed to...” was the one sentence phrase that stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been on a journey with a person for nine months, and it’s incredible to see the growth in them, simply because they have nurtured the capacity to be vulnerably honest.
Here’s the thing. Their partner lovingly pointed out a truth to them. It hurt; the shame of being wrong, selfish, prideful.
That moment is a precipice. I’ve experienced it. A few times my own wife has said, “Mmm, sounds like pride.” “Grrrr....” went my pride in response, but then in a God-sponsored pause, I was able to contemplate — could it be? Yes, indeed!
So it was for the person I was working with. They hated for a few seconds or a minute or two, what had just been told them. But they had the compunction of humility to go deep enough within to ponder — could it be? Yes, indeed!
From a moment of pride where anger flares and says, “How dare you make me face my shame... I will get you back for such a horrid truth that you’ve made me face,” a simple moment of humility to hold space for oneself — could it be? Yes, indeed.
For the person I was working with, within moments or a little time, there was gratitude that their God-sponsored humility was big enough to hold space for the truth spoken so courageously and lovingly.
I mean, what partner speaks such truth other than the one who feels safe to do so? And... who loves so much that they’re committed to communicating truth.
The prayer of gratitude was, “Oh Lord, thank you that you gave me the courage to hold that moment in the suspension of grace, to ponder if there was any truth in it or not. Thank you that it was a growth moment for me and for my relationship; that trust goes from strength to strength because I didn’t react aggressively or didn’t deny it.”
The point is this. We all bear such weakness from time to time. If our loved ones don’t have permission to say these things, what kind of relationships are we nurturing?
If we can’t hold space for people to be honest with us, we offer them less than the complete version of ourselves, and we cheat us both out of true relating, and we certainly don’t deserve the same right of respectfully challenging them.
The person who can receive feedback that feels initially hard to hear gives to the other person the feeling of having been heard.
The essence of true relationship is holding space for each other to the extent of feeling heard. It’s a power for the building of trust and intimacy and it’s the genesis of growth.
It takes a lot of courage to speak the truth in love. It also takes a lot of courage to hear those words. One feels heard in the simple recognition of what is being said. The other feels heard in being validated for the humility to look within.
And the relationship prospers. Love conquers all. Truth is essential.
Being heard is feeling valued. Understanding is the power of love. It’s one of the greatest gifts to give and to receive.