Living Through Lockdown: Be Emotionally Honest
Posted on 27th April 2020 at 17:44
The third step on our 5-point plan for living through lockdown is being emotionally honest. (Take a look at Step 1: Acknowledge everything and Step 2: Be present if you missed them.)
A quote used in the Grief Recovery Training is “Love is the product of truthful communication,” and whether we’re talking romantic love or any relationship, when we’re emotionally honest everything works better. For example, “I have a lot to do, I would really appreciate you taking the rubbish out,” is less likely to cause an argument than “Why do you never take the rubbish out?”
The first is what you’re feeling is on the matter, the latter is a criticism. If you try to stick to what’s true for you and express it, you are more likely to be heard.
Being emotionally honest
Being emotionally honest means using feeling words to express what’s going on with you first. Another example: “I hated maths too when I was at school. I worry that it will get harder if you don't do your homework, and I'm willing to sit down with you while we work through it together.”
Tell the emotional truth about yourself and people around you will know where you’re at.
Here are some examples:
I love you
I’m very proud of the person you’ve become
Thank you for always being there for me
I always love spending time with you
I’m frustrated I can’t go dancing
I’m scared I’ll get ill
I’m sorry for shouting at you
I appreciate the sacrifices you made for me
The sooner, the better
Why is emotional truth important? What is not said can be just as harmful as what is said. We have already identified that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. Imagine one of your parents dying. The last time you spoke, you had a heated discussion. Two days later, they died. You hadn’t said ‘I love you’ or ‘Thank you for bringing me up to be the person I am today.’ And they hadn’t told you they love you either. However, just a small tweak to the end of your heated discussion generates a much better ending. Something along the lines of ‘I’m not going to agree with your point of view, so I’m going to go now, and I still love you.’
Ask yourself, ‘How would I feel if I didn’t have the opportunity to say, ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you’ or anything else I might want to say? If you feel you may be missing an opportunity and you’d regret it, then the sooner you do so, the better.
Expressing the voice in your heart
There’s a difference between being emotionally honest and facts. The emotional truth is what you feel. This sometimes has nothing to do with the facts. Taking the above example, the fact is you’ve had an argument. Being emotionally honest at the end of it changes your feelings about that argument in the future. Very quickly you can see that you might tell a different story about how you felt about the same event if you weren’t emotionally honest at the end.
Talking about your emotional truth is about expressing the voice in your heart, not your head. The truth in your head is about the facts involved in a situation. Think of head stuff as what you might say in court. In our relationships with others it’s important to share what you feel rather than what you think others would like to hear. Telling your emotional truth should reflect the way you lived your experience.
Here are some examples of how to start talking about your emotional truths as you’ve experienced them:
This is what happened to me
Here’s how I see it
Here’s my take on what happened
Be true to yourself
Sometimes emotional honesty can make you or the person you’re talking to feel a bit uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to talking about how you really feel together. This may involve concerns that they take your feelings the wrong way, or you’re worried about hurting their feelings. It might be that you’re risking your feelings, that you tell them how you really feel, and they don’t feel the same way as you do. This is a risk worth taking, because you are being true to yourself. When we allow ourselves to “put it out there” and be honest with our feelings and needs, there is a good chance that others will follow.
Look at this as a gift of time. Take a reflective look at who you are and how you would want to leave your communications with your nearest and dearest. Facing a global pandemic and being in lockdown can put things into perspective and provide you with an opportunity to discover what and who is important.
Have you seen our Top 5 tips for living through lockdown?
Take a look at our 5-point Plan for how to cope, improve your relationships and start feeling better today:
2. Be present
5. Say goodbye
Looking to expand your in-depth knowledge?
Would you like to speak to someone or are considering a Grief Recovery programme? Click here to find an online Specialist who can help you right away.
If you would like more information on how to cope with the current coronavirus crisis, see also:
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