Authentic communication can be defined in many ways but in simple terms it refers to speaking from a place of being real, being genuine and being truthful about who you are.
It’s easy to reside in a comfortable place in our close relationships by regularly keeping others from knowing what we are really thinking or feeling about certain topics or issues. This act of self-protection often stems from a variety of factors including fear of offending someone, fear of hurting someone’s feelings or resistance to being judged, ridiculed or rejected. Although there may be times where remaining authentic will appear to be the wrong thing to do, it is important to remain open about who we are to those we love, as much as possible. It is in our openness that allows others to know deeper aspects of who we are which in turn deepens our relationships with others. Moreover, even though revealing parts of yourself may be uncomfortable for your partner, friend or family member, your willingness to be known gives them the opportunity to know deeper parts of you. You also allow those who are close to you to validate and shine light on those parts. By keeping parts of yourself hidden, those parts are more likely to remain in the dark, without a chance to be understood, loved, owned, accepted or transformed.
The tough part of taking risks in close relationships is that we sometimes do not know how the other will react. Sometimes we might get a judgmental reaction or feel that we have “scared someone away.” If you open yourself to someone and receive “negative” or critical feedback, this may be communication for you to consider whether this is an area of growth for yourself to be worked on or explored, if it is a sign that this is not a healthy relationship for you, or if something “new” needs to be learned for the relationship to work. How we handle negative feedback from our environment can also be a sign that we are still growing into being comfortable with ourselves. Often times we find ourselves in an environment where a conflict will arise or we may be attacked on some level for “speaking our truth.” But even in this situation, the fact that you may be attacked is communication about how your presence impacts others. It also teaches you about that other person and their needs or sensitivities. And in this situation, again, there are many ways to proceed. You can decide if it is worth it for you to remain in such an environment, if there is something else that needs to happen so that each person’s views can be respected, or if there are new ways of communicating that each person can agree to try so that each person can be heard.
Ultimately, let the light and the dark within you shine….You are not a static being, and it is in relating to others that you have continuous opportunity to grow and emerge.