The High Road
How do you tell if it’s time to take the high road or if it’s better to stand your ground?
This year one of my goals was to identify the times I feel walked on or hurt by something, and to try and address those moments. My intention wasn’t to start arguments, but rather to be honest with my feelings and to be authentic.
I was thinking I would say more things like “When you said *blank, that made me feel *blank”. I wanted to come at it from a place of honesty. To really say what my true feelings were – not just to be mad, but to identify something deeper and share that part.
I have discovered some things are not worth pursuing like this. Small things that are nitpicky weren’t really the mission here, which has been especially hard for me given my type A personality.
It got me wondering if we were all more authentic and told our truths, would we be closer to our friends, or would we really not handle all the truth-telling very well?
The trick has to be the packaging in which you send your message. Authenticity, honesty, truth are all great – for you – but packaged in a sentiment of goodwill towards the recipient, the hardest message will be better received.
This past summer an opportunity arose for me to meet this fork – the high road in one direction, and my authentic self in the other. It was with a good friend of mine, and I was feeling taken advantage of and taken for granted, making more effort than her to make time for one another. Friendships are a weird thing. I could have brushed it off and thought, “Hey we’ve been friends forever, it’s all good, I’ll get over it”, but I had to tell her how it really made me feel. I opted for that side of the fork in the road, and told her; it wasn’t so easy, but from her perspective she had no idea any of this was going on in my mind until I said something. It was difficult, but important to do – much better than harbouring resentment and possibly distancing myself from an old friend.
I had to take risks, I had to risk that this friend could handle my honesty, but honestly do I really want friends that want me to pretend everything is ok?
So far it’s worked out pretty well. There have been a few people along the way that weren’t interested in my feelings, and there have been times I haven’t been the most tactful, but I’m learning as I’m going and I think it’s been worth the effort.
When you see me next, get ready to hear how you made me feel – nicely, of course!