THE RISK OF SETTING THINGS STRAIGHT (PART 2)
This is part 2 of “The risk of setting things straight”. If you haven’t read part part 1 yet, you can read it here.
Katie took a chance by sharing how she felt and what she thought with her friend Alex. She allowed herself to be vulnerable, which turned out to be a key factor that made it OK for her friend to respond and also make himself vulnerable.
Alex responded with the following letter:
“Ok, bear with me here. I have a story to tell…
So most of yesterday before I got your message I had a weird feeling in my body that I didn’t really want to identify but it was grounded in the area of loneliness. So I decided to go for a swim.
I saw your message coming in as I drove to the pool but I didn’t read it. Just before I got in the water I read your message. My heart sunk. So I started swimming. I felt vulnerable, exposed, embarrassed, used, alone, angry and hurt. Lets just say the water was on the receiving end of a lot of crap.
Then I realized that these were just my feelings and had no connection to your intentions so my feelings moved to vulnerable, exposed, embarrassed and disappointed as to what this might mean for the future and for what potentially cool work we could do together.
I swam for an hour and a half and got to a point of just being in the water turning over my arms and swimming without even knowing how long I had gone. I had let go of a load of stuff but still felt low and nervous at the thought of us never really having a friendship like we had before.
Then I got in my car to drive to dinner and on the way I realized something extremely important: if we were ever to be successful at whatever work we may do in the future then it is so important that this happened.
The truth is I have had a crush on you since I have met you. I suppressed it because of lots of things: work, self doubt, fear... I mean what’s not to have a crush on? You are strong, beautiful, caring, thoughtful and you shine so bright J.
On Monday night all those suppression barriers got blown away... and that crush came out and needed to be expressed. What is life if you don’t take a chance and risk it all? I think over the course of the week my body definitely sent me little messages that something was not in its place... but, you know sometimes excitement makes you miss those little messages. Your note yesterday allowed me to acknowledge those messages.
But what I now know is that there is always a gift in pain. Once I figured this out, the gift in this one is huge… Katie, I would never have been able to process this in the way I have, by really spending time with my feelings and understanding them. Through our friendship I have transformed in an amazing way. Before, my reaction to this would have been to shut down and go hard. Now I know that I simply need to stay vulnerable express myself and stay open and exposed and all will be amazing... that is your influence and I am so thankful for that.
Now if you think this could damage our friendship you are completely crazy!! You are an amazing person in my life. How sad would it be to let a wonderful moment of connection and cuddles destroy a beautiful friendship? I don’t know what the future holds for us business wise but I really hope it holds fun, creativity, impact and loads of great work making a huge difference.
Finally, to the matter of cuddles :-)…. Irrespective of my misinterpretation of Monday night it was something special and beautifully connected. Something I think both of us are probably missing in our lives a little or maybe a lot…. J so until we both find the amazing people that we deserve you are always welcome for a big old cuddle with me J.
Thank you so much you being the authentic you in my life... the only thing I would ask is to try and meet you before we get to the office on Monday and give you a BIG HUG...
To one of my most amazing authentic friends… I have lots of Love for you in my heart,
Big hug back,
P.s. You better cook a good dinner :-)"
The situation that could have ended with hurt, blame, a lost friendship and many more uncomfortable moments took a turn that strengthened their relationship and grew it to new levels of trust, connection and respect.
This was only possible because both Katie and Alex took the time to understand how they felt, what they were thinking and what was important to them. This self-awareness and the respectful and honest way they communicated with each other transformed a very uncomfortable and potentially harmful situation into a rich learning and bonding experience.
This is the power of sharing our true feelings and assertive communication in action. Learn to communicate this way with the three steps to assertive communication outlined here: The power of communicating our true feelings.
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