Hello! Seiiti Arata. Can you say no to someone you love? If you are the type of person who finds it difficult to say no, many questions will probably arise.
If you believe that true love is that in which you must do absolutely everything for a loved one, you will also believe that you have to agree with everything.
You may even believe that true love means putting your will and needs aside in order to always support your partner.
But is that healthy? Let’s understand how an adult communication is built on trust, authenticity and intimacy.
1. Authenticity requires trust
Trust is the basis of everything. If you don’t trust, you can’t build the foundation required to live as a couple. There will be a lack of reliability.
Trust enables you to achieve authenticity. Write down this tip. If you trust, you can be yourself, you can be authentic without being afraid. And why is authenticity important? Because with authenticity you will worry less about how you are perceived, with the masks you need to wear.
You need to wear a mask for most social interactions. That’s one of Professor Erving Goffman’s theories, in which basically the way you present yourself to the world depends on the audience, it depends on the people around you. You behave in a way when in the company of childhood friends and in a different way when you are at work or with family members.
If I ask you who you are, the answer will vary. It will depend on who’s interacting with you. You exist, therefore, as you interact with others. The construction of your social being depends on the type of interaction you have with others. What is the appearance that you want to keep? What image do you want to show? What feelings will you expose? To what extent what you say is purely true or is a strategic way not to displease the person with whom you interact?
Now let’s go back to your relationship. Are you doing your part to achieve genuine communication? Does the level of trust that you have built enable you to reveal yourself with authenticity? Without that, you will find very hard to say no. Jung has a quote that I like a lot: “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are”.
Now let’s change the perspective. How do you receive genuine communication from others? Have you ever thought about that?
Just as you want to be able to communicate with authenticity and not to be punished for that, you need to appreciate your partner just as they are, authentically. That’s one of the keys to intimacy.
2. Intimacy requires authenticity
Let’s now talk about intimacy. Intimacy reveals itself in different ways: through words, looks, touches, sex. There is emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, physical intimacy and all of them are connected. If you don’t realise that, you may try to fix things in the wrong order.
Intimacy isn’t just sex. Actually, intimacy through sex happens when other dimensions of intimacy have already been secured. It will be difficult to improve intimacy only by searching for exotic positions in bed while not having achieved intimacy in communication yet.
Intimacy calls for sincere communication. If you don’t feel comfortable to say what you think and feel, it will be hard to say no. And intimacy doesn’t mean only talking, but also listening. It means that you have the freedom to ask questions and to listen carefully, with genuine interest.
Have a look at episode 03 of the series “Hello! Seiiti Arata”, whose title is “People Change”, on http://arata.se/hello03 – you change over time, and so does the person you love. Without keeping the intimacy in communication, without continually getting to know the other person, there is a risk of you two falling apart sooner or later. People change. You must always keep on getting to know someone.
Now I ask you: Do you really know how to communicate? One thing is to talk and another thing is to express yourself. One thing is to hear and another thing is to listen.
People are not always able to convey what they feel. And even more rarely is to understand what the other person is trying to convey.
The course “How to Say No” is a course on relationships, with techniques to improve your communication. You can access it on the link http://arata.se/howtosayno