Here’s an insight into the female mind for you: PMS = Truth Serum. Unorthodox, I admit, but I can’t be the only one who feels this way, right? Ladies, does “that time of the month” break down all of your regular inhibitions, too? If we’re being truthful, it isn’t always for the better, but speaking of being truthful…
Don’t ignore your instincts.
My husband and I tackled a difficult conversation recently—
To preface, I generally hate conflict. I’ve damaged relationships in the past with blunt honesty. I learned early on to ask myself: is this really worth it? before an anticipated confrontation. A good practice, but it can also lead to a lot of bottled up emotion. For example:
Do you ever tell yourself it’s just a little thing multiple times (because it is!) only to discover that even a little thing, encountered repeatedly, suddenly requires your full attention?
These are the kinds of truths my hormones bring out, because there is no such thing as a little thing while on your period. Obviously, the world will end if the issue is not dealt with post-haste.
I, of course, spent the day irritable and in tears “for no reason” when I realized something was, in fact, behind my dramatic mood swings.
Between the lack of sleep, business-like exchanges, and our joint neglect of date night, I felt a deep lack of connection to my spouse. What is more, would you believe it, he felt the same. Thank you, breakdown!
My instincts knew there was an issue before I did.
And the awareness and reminder that my husband and I love each other and intend to come out stronger together on the other side brought both of us some much needed comfort and peace.
The lesson being, when you find your inner truths, communicate them! Don’t wait until you’re deliriously hopped up on hormones.
As Brene Brown puts it:
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection… Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.
- Do you want to cultivate love?
Don’t be afraid to be honest. We honor our inner truths by allowing our true selves to be seen. Bernard Baruch and, more famously, Dr. Seuss remind us:
Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
How to Speak Up with Compassion
I realize this leaves us with a tricky paradox.
How do we share what matters to us while remembering to care for and guard the hearts of those we interact with as well as our own?
Truthfully, I haven’t quite mastered this myself, but let me leave you with a few, quick principles I try to practice:
- Keep the bigger picture in mind. Will your concern matter 10 minutes from now? 10 days from now? Is an offense likely to re-occur? Are your feelings regarding a particular issue subject to change? Keeping the bigger picture in mind allows you to more accurately weigh the pros and cons of speaking out.
- Sleep on it. I get a good chuckle out of Technology 101’s most famous maxim: Have you tried turning it “on” and “off” again? The same holds true with humans. We hear it’s important to avoid going to bed angry, but it’s also beneficial to come back to a hot button issue with a cool head. Don’t dismiss your feelings, just press snooze. You may wake up and forget what upset you in the first place.
- When the need inevitably arises to speak out, remember, you and your peers are a team. As we discussed last week, everyone brings something to the table. Look out for what that is and tackle the things that weigh on you together. Agree where you can. Make friends, not enemies, and fill your life with genuine community.
Practice, practice, practice!
So, what inner truths will you honor this week?
- Do you feel you and your spouse would benefit from marital counseling?
- Are there harmful people in your life you need to confront? Or let go of?
- Is there a feeling or opinion you’ve downplayed recently that needs to be addressed?
We won’t be perfect at it. …To be fair, I also spurned Joe for failing to bring the Almond Joys home from the grocery store. They were out of stock, and it wasn’t his fault, so, perhaps not every instinct while “under the influence” of PMS conceals a deeper meaning. Still. Honesty, with compassion, has always worked for me.
Here’s to beating you to it next time, Mother Nature. Thanks for the push.