Transparency , as real as it gets ! And why its important
During self isolation with my spouse and daughter, I’ve had a real lesson in transparency in relationship. Why I need to receive it , AND why I need to give it.
When the Covid19 virus started hitting home, in my little orbit of the world, it seemed surreal. I live in a small northern town in Central British Columbia. The population is about 70000 to give you an idea of how small. And, on top of that our home is 45 minutes from the city limits.
The idea of self isolation and staying home was kind of new, and, well.. fun! We were aware of the seriousness of the situation in the world, and lightened our emotions by playing board games, planning special meals, planning the grocery trip. Trips to the refuse station, bank or other seemingly mundane activities in your old life was now an event requiring meticulous planning and execution, for safety. Safety for ourselves, and for the safety of others. The planning is often the topic of conversation, how, who, when, with what safety measures in place.
As we come to the close of each day, when those who aren’t essential workers, and have stayed home, greet those who have been at work with a mask , gloves and Lysol, we are faced with each other to converse with. Again. And again.. and again.
What I’ve learned about myself is, man, I spend a lot of time being nice.. accommodating. “Its ok,” I say to myself, I didn’t need that paper, book, or pen. I can watch or see it later , get another one. Or I don’t mind cleaning the kitchen. AGAIN . For the 6th time today. (insert rolling eye sarcasm here) Until Covid19, I never would have said a word, I would softly complain to myself, in my head, and congradulate myself on how helpful and accommodating I am in a difficult time.
Fast forward four weeks later. The bloom is off the rose, the cleaning up after others, or missing pens, books, tablets are now seriously making me crazy. There might be real need for safety of others in my home, a whole different kind of safety!
Even as I am boiling over inside , I am trying to convince myself that this is part of isolation, it will be over at some point, won’t it? Almost simultaneously, the other part of my brain is screaming.. WHEN?????
I am looking for the hidden gifts of isolation…desperately. And then I discover it ! This is where I learn to ask for what I want and what I need from my relationships, without apology. YES! This is it. I am so sure of myself, I am over the moon with this new perspective, excited even. This is a chance to practice something , something that can be kind of hard. As I consider what this might look like in my family, it hits me. I think.. how, how can I possibly do this without hurt feelings?
And here’s the truth, you do this without hurt feelings by being transparent. Don’t hide behind being nice, I mean asking someone to return your tablet after they use it, that isn’t unreasonable or unrealistic. If I had asked for these things right away, I would not have gotten to the point of sheer frustration that ensued. And here’s the real epiphany, I wasn’t the only frustrated one.
That’s right. One night, while I was surfing the channels of Netflix, my partner literally rolled up his socks and threw them at me. I was scrolling so fast he couldn’t even read the descriptions…
We laughed, but he really was frustrated. If he had asked for the opportunity to have the controller ( WHAT? Like that ever happens!) , the conversation that needed to happen would have happened. In our case it did, with humour and levity.
The other piece to this puzzle is to be transparent with yourself. Don’t make the mistake of turning away from what you really need or desire in your relationship, in mistaken efforts of being nice, or seen as accommodating. This requires a little courage with a dash of self authority. And know that if this is new to you, it might get messy. That is ok, actually it is to be expected! Full permission granted to be messy, not always get it right … as long as you STAY around long enough to clean up the mess.
This idea might seem a little uncomfortable for you, even a bit awkward. The truth is, IT IS. But, I’m here to tell you, it works, and it is so worth it. I’m still in the practicing phase, still messy most of the time, lots of clean up required, and its still worth the effort.