Giving Ourselves Away

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

Going too far in trying to avoid situations in which our loved ones feel upset can come back to bite us. Too often those of us who want to keep the peace at all costs pay the cost of doing that out of our own well-being. We “give in” or “give up” to ease the discomfort the other person is feeling and in doing so begin to trade away bits of our personhood. Pretty soon there is a big hole inside us where “we” are supposed to be.

Over the long haul we may trade way our ability to ask for what we want, or our ability to tell the truth, or our lightness of being – all in an effort to make sure our loved one is not upset. If we want a healthy relationship we need to be able to accept and face the upset


without running away or giving in. A healthy friend of mine once said about his wife: ‘We had hard time at the beginning because when she got upset in her family growing up, it somehow meant that everyone had to stop and make sure she got over her upset. When she gets upset with me, all it means is that she is upset.”

There are people who adjust their relationship to the truth, and there are people who adjust the truth to their relationship. The first is difficult in the short run; the second is disastrous in the long run. Speaking the truth in a relationship is the key to intimacy, strength and mutual happiness. We need to remember that it is not our job to adjust the truth of what we know and believe to the other person’s satisfaction.

I hope you’re not mad at me for saying that……. 🙂

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