I’ve been thinking a lot about the proverbial elephant in the room… The things we don’t say, because
- we don’t want to be a burden
- we assume the other doesn’t want to or is not able to hear what we have to say
- we want to be kind or polite
- we are afraid they might not like us, or even leave us if we say it
- we don’t want to hurt or disappoint the other person
- we assume we are on our own with this one (but honestly – how has it ever served us to “do relationship” alone?)
- we are confused – and it’s easier to blame the other person, circumstances or an elephant, than summoning the courage to find the questions we need to ask, and the truths we need to speak
- we value being “right” over being connected (ouch – that’s a tough one – and most of us don’t notice it when we go there, but we do when “they” go there… hmmm)
It usually starts out with the little crumbs we sweep under the rug – and eventually they grow into a big-a#$ elephant that seems to be impossible to mention, let alone getting out of the room without dismantling the entire room itself…
What are your elephants in the room? And what can you do TODAY to liberate one (and/or yourself)?
Here are some recipes for elephant liberation;
- Set a boundary by saying NO to something (remember, no is a complete phrase. It doesn’t require explanations).
- Set a boundary by saying YES to something – While we often have to start with a NO, this is more generative than the no boundary: it tells the other person what you want, need, stand for, intend; what lights you up – instead of focusing of what you don’t want…
- Speak a truth (hint: What if there is no tomorrow to say it? How would you feel continuing to share your life with the elephant instead of a clear and complete relationship?)
- go within for a while and become clear about your intentions for the relationship – your feelings, wants and needs – and find a way to voice them in a way that invites the other person to contribute to you.
- ask a question – and then shut up and take the time to listen; resist the temptation to “lead” the other person to what you want to hear, have the courage to receive their feedback…
Lastly: remember, that elephant didn’t get here in a day; so allow one step at a time to move it out of the room, if you want to keep the room… Rarely does it serve us to implode or explode, even when it comes to elephants…
How do you deal with the elephant in the room? Please share.