One of the most important lessons I am learning in this lifetime is the importance of expressing my truth and allowing others to express theirs without judgment. Years ago Victor and I both attended a Loving Communications workshop that taught us that "All truths are true." What the facilitator explained was that when a person is expressing something from their heart, whether or not it resonates as your truth is not the issue. Their expression is their truth in that moment and is valid for them and deserves to be heard. With this understanding I realized that I can be tolerant, non-emotional and non-judgmental when discussing belief systems with others. I can fully hear them and at the same time be the observer and detach from emotional involvement in their truth.
Expressing my truth, however, was a more difficult lesson for me to incorporate into my life. When Victor and I entered into our wonderful relationship the two of us took only one vow. It wasn't a vow of undying love or a vow that we would be there for each other for eternity. It was a vow to always express our truth, even at the expense of possibly hurting the other person's feelings.
On the surface, that vow appeared to be a simple one to keep. I have always prided myself in being honest--not lying. However, expressing one's truth not only means "not lying," it also means "not withholding". I have always been real good at withholding. When something is bothering me, I can opt to not hurt the other's feelings and bottle my emotions up inside of me like a pro. All of a sudden I found myself in a situation where I was expected to reveal my emotional reactions to what was going on in our relationship. I had not been in a relationship in twelve years and in my last relationship (a 20 year marriage) neither my husband nor I ever discussed our feelings. Needless to say there were many adjustments to be made in this new relationship.
My first inclination was to "keep silent" when something bothered me. Well, guess what? Victor would not allow me to do that! This wasn't going to be easy! I don't like to cause upsets or to be caught up in emotional turmoil. And during the first few months there were several times when we both wondered if the relationship would survive as we adjusted to each other. However, each time a new situation would present itself where one or both of us felt out of alignment, it became easier and easier to work through it and talk it out. We developed a level of safety and trust that I have never experienced with another human being and our relationship has blossomed.
I feel the reason so many relationships fail is because the partners don't express their inner truth. If we could all reach a point of feeling safe to communicate our truth to everyone with whom we are in relationship, and know that our truth will be heard and honored, the world would be a much more peaceful place.