Monday, April 12, 2010

How did you get there?

I'm preparing a talk for tonight on Relational Honesty. I'll start with the opening scene from He's Just Not That Into You (where women from all over the world are shown concocting soothing lies for each other about why a guy didn't call) and then talk about how hard it's been for me to be honest when my base response to most of life's awkwardness is to flee (or, if I'm backed into a corner, to flip out.)

As I was working, I flipped over to Twitter (have I mentioned my procrastination skills?) and found a link to these wise words from fellow author/speaker/encourager Donald Miller:

"If you’re writing a paper or presenting a talk, sit and consider how it is you came to understand the point you are trying to make. Track it back through conversations, experiences, and list those experiences. Then see if you can tell a series of stories that would guide an audience to the same epiphany. It works pretty well for me."

That got me thinking: how did I come to understand the importance of relational honesty? What convinced me it would be worth the hard work to move beyond my default settings of flip & flee? As best I can remember, it was watching other people love me enough to be honest, to have difficult conversations they could have avoided, and to feel the joy that comes from being valued so much that people won't give up on me even if I'm being less than delightful. That's a rare and amazing thing.

And let me pause to note that if you haven't felt the sweet relief that comes from a friend saying, "Well yes...those jeans DO make you look fat" in a store dressing room before you've whipped out your have something to look forward to in life. You wouldn't think so, but not buying things that make you look bad = An unexpectedly beautiful experience.

Are you good at relational honesty? Tell us: how did you get there?


Barrie said...

I am not good at this at all. It's a constant struggle. I have (finally!) learned that it helps if I wait until the emotion dies down and then choose my words carefully.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

No, I must confess, I'm not good, and I wish I was better. I'm relatively non-confrontational and just try to avoid awkwardness whenever possible. Even when I should tell it like it is.

P.S. Hi Trish! LOVE the title of your new book--congrats on that!