THE BLOG

Disclosure Trumps Withholding Almost Every Time -- Part 1

"A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Lack of candor, if unchecked ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments." - Ed Catmull in Creativity, Inc.

Linda: Reveal don't conceal; express don't repress; accept don't reject; connect don't protect, and open don't close, are good guidelines when committing to a partnership characterized by a high level of trust and closeness. There are so many couples where the lack of emotional intimacy compromises their sense of well-being.

There are a number of components involved in co-creating a highly successful partnership, not the least of which is to become consistently emotionally intimate. The process always begins with self. When we periodically step out of our busy lives, to take a reflective pause to see what is occurring in our body, mind, and emotions, we find the words to describe our feelings and needs. Once we have told ourselves the truth, then we are challenged to dare to risk revealing whatever is there to our partner.

Communicating fully and openly, without withholding is key to successful relationships. And yet, many people operate from a commitment to conceal that which they fear could reflect negatively on them. As a result, they tend to be discriminating about what they chose to share about themselves, and what they chose to withhold, even with people with whom they are closest. The practice of concealment can foster feelings of mistrust, inhibit spontaneity, and diminish feelings of intimacy.

So many of us had negative experiences in our past revealing our feelings and needs. We have been shamed and blamed for feeling the way we do. Those of us who attempted to be authentic were sometime ridiculed for being overly sensitive, making a mountain out of a molehill, and way too needy. We got the message early that it was dangerous to show our tender underbelly. We might be judged and criticized, even humiliated. Many of us have been studying our entire lives how to conceal, repress, and close off, thereby arriving at a level of mastery in disguising our true self. It can be revolutionary thought to reverse this process and dare to attempt to live another way.

Couples with strong, vital relationships use candor characterized by forthrightness or frankness. Candor is truth telling with tact and reserve. These couples are generally more committed to revealing all aspects of themselves, including those that may not reflect favorably upon them. They are more committed to authentically sharing themselves than they are protecting their image and manipulating other's impressions. The commitment to reveal is really about authenticity. For those who are committed to being authentic,

Self-expression shows up in all of their relationships, not just with their romantic partner.

Such a commitment to authenticity promotes a kind of transparency that creates deeply meaningful and fulfilling personal connections. Those of us who trust each other to be accepting and non-judging, feel secure in revealing our feelings and experiences on an on going basis. Trust is earned out of a long history of acceptance. By practicing revealing, without being met with judgment, we accumulate evidence that we can be ourselves. The ability to accept another non-judgmentally is linked to self-acceptance, and such self-acceptance is a circular process that allows us to be accepting of each other.

People get nervous when they consider the idea of being more self-revelatory, but they are intrigued too. On the one hand, they sense that there is enormous possibility that someone will finally accept them "as is". They are delighted with the thought of a lover or a friend saying, "I love you," imagining resting into that love and the peace of mind that would come with it, without wondering whether they would be loved if the other person knew the whole story about them. On the other hand, dread and trepidation will surface, when their recollections of past painful experiences start showing up.

When we succeed in hiding who we really are from others, we lose touch with our real self. When we disclose ourselves to at least one other person, we know ourselves more deeply and that intimate knowledge of self allows us to make wise choices determining where our lives will go. Our destiny will be in alignment with our true self, our tastes, preferences beliefs, values and passions. Stay tuned for Part 2 to find the six steps to becoming transparent.

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Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.

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