- Be in the relationship you want.
Lately, I've been too scared or tired or gun shy or broken to speak my truth.
But it's just as tiring to close yourself down as it is to open up and remain open. How others react is not my responsibility. I cannot and should not rob them of the opportunity for growth just because I don't know or trust that they can handle what I have to say.
There's a movie I love that probably five people in the world saw and remembered: The Secret Lives of Dentists. Beautiful screenplay, devastatingly simple plot, gorgeous acting.
The Shakespearean flaw of the main character, played by Campbell Scott, is that he won't confront his wife, who he suspects is having an affair, or even let her confess to him. He says to his imagined doppelganger, played with devilishly wry comedic effect by the incomparable Dennis Leary, "If I let her tell me... we'll have to act. The whole machinery will shift into gear."
If he can just hang on, then maybe she'll work it out on her own, and their life together can continue.
There's a flip side of this strategy to pretending nothing's wrong until it's true: let there be nothing wrong until there isn't.
What's the worst that would happen if I communicated like I want to be able to communicate after we're better at it? The only way that goes wrong is if I place attachment or expectation on what others' capabilities will be in response.
In the workplace, a colleague reminded me that the overachievers shouldn't judge others by our own standards, since the world certainly doesn't.
And the same should be true of my relationships. I shouldn't hold myself to going 25 miles per hour just because that's what others are capable of traveling, from an emotional capacity standpoint.
And the line from Iyanla Vanzant's "In the Meantime":
Usually two people start out together. One pulls ahead, the other drops to the rear. In some cases, the one in the lead can reach back and pull the other up to speed. In most cases, the one who reaches back gets slowed down, sometimes to a halt. Find your center and stay grounded in it. Know that you can still love a person who is running behind you, but if he/she starts walking, it is your responsibility to yourself to keep running.