Hard Won Learning

Many of us were taught that when there is a conflict or a problem we should talk about it, discuss it, resolve it, right?  And one thing I have learned the hard way over the years is that there are some times when that just doesn’t work!

Recently I have had a couple of clients who are learning that too.  It’s a hard habit to break—for many of us it ‘goes against the grain‘ to not actually untangle the knot and examine it!  And yet I am fixin’ to bring up the idea that there are times when it’s neither smart nor effective to bare your soul.

Like most things in life it’s about balance, safety and boundaries.  And it’s also very much about who you are dealing with, and their perspective.

Actually one of the things I do as a coach is try to help people explore what is behind their habits and beliefs—to dig deeper and expose the thought processes and obstacles.  And we do that in a confidential, safe place.  In this instance we are both coming from the place of untangling the knot for the sake of the client.

However their are people in our lives that don’t come from that perspective.  Some may put their own agenda before yours.  Some may actually use the information you give them to hurt or manipulate you.

Unfortunately we all find that out the hard way: we expose some vulnerability and then experience the pain of being hurt by the other person using that information in a negative way.

Truly, I do wish—for all of us—that people would stop doing that. Stop lashing out! And when others lash out it is beyond our control, right? So the thing we need to do is learn to stop giving those that hurt us more ammunition.  And we do that by not sharing the things we have been taught to share with those who will use that information in a negative way!

In essence by “opening the kimono” we share our vulnerability.  It’s a wonderful way to share and create intimacy.  People who are both in the same place of caring and respect in a relationship honor that place.  People who aren’t in that same place, or are compromised by  life-long habits of confrontation and other challenging circumstances, will use your vulnerability against you.

You can’t change that.  You can’t change them.  Sacrificing yourself by continuing to give them more ammo won’t help anyone.

Give some more thought to what to share, and with whom.  Recognize that you really aren’t required to bare your inner thoughts to everyone.  And as the song goes:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

I’m happy to help you sort through who to ‘bare your soul’ to and who to ‘keep it under wraps’ with, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.