Speak Eagle

Share from Your Heart

Dear Holly,

How are you?  I have enclosed an article for you.  It says that couples who live together before they get married have a 50 percent higher divorce rate than couples who don’t.  I thought you might want to know that before you move in with Sam.

Love,  Heidi

It was a desperate letter.  Holly, one of my dearest friends, had just told me she was moving in with her boyfriend.  I had read the article about higher divorce rates for couples who live together and I didn’t want her to have her heart broken by divorce later in life.  So I wrote her a letter, and I distinctly recall focusing on the statistics.

But was I really motivated by a left-brained reason, such as not wanting her to become another statistic? No, I was actually motivated by a right-brained, emotional reason- because I loved her and I didn’t want to see her get hurt.

If I could go back, I would do it differently- I would share from my heart.

In the book, Difficult Conversations, scholars from the Harvard Negotiation Project suggest that you ask yourself, “Have I said what is at the heart of the matter for me?”  (191)

Often, it takes a bit of digging to figure out exactly what you feel.   I think back to my “Jack” blog post about how I blew up at my husband one evening for reading a book and fired off the endearing words, “You don’t do jack!”  As I looked more deeply into the emotion behind my explosion, I realized what I meant to say was, “Honey, I feel really lonely doing the dishes by myself.”

Vulnerability is scary; anger feels safer.  But unfortunately, when we fire off an attack instead of sharing from our heart, the other person can’t hear what we are really saying at all because we have put them in defense-mode, trying to protect themselves from our flaming arrows!

When you are going to share something sensitive, controversial, or something that takes courage to share with another person, it’s best to share, not from your head, or your weapons, but from your heart.

Holly lived with Sam for a while, and they eventually got married.  I found out recently that they have now split.  I’m not convinced that sharing from my heart more fully would have kept her from living with him, or marrying him.  Truly, the people we love are entitled to their own decisions.  However, I think sharing from my heart would have gone a long way into building into our relationship.

And relationships are the whole reason we risk having a courageous conversation in the first place.

Be bold.  Be vulnerable.  Share from your heart.