By Roy Biancalana, Certified Life Coach
Permit me to vent a little bit. I am sick and tired of people in the media stereotyping men as being Neanderthals when it comes to intimacy and communication. For example, the other day my wife showed me an article written in Oprah’s magazine in which some “expert” was saying men don’t like to talk about their feelings, share their fears or even make eye contact with “their” woman in conversation. The writer said it had something to do with our biology and history as cavemen.
Well, men, I don’t know about you, but my knuckles don’t drag on the ground! We’re not cavemen; we’re not the stereotypical 1950s male; we’re not our fathers. We are evolving. We can and do talk about how we feel, and this article is designed to continue this evolutionary process.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that last month we began a series on the Relationship Fundamentals. We said that intimacy is just like any sport: Success results from mastering the fundamentals, doing the “little things” impeccably well. And we said the first “little thing,” the first relationship fundamental, was to “stop blaming and take responsibility.” Blame is like a football team not being able to tackle. You can’t win if you can’t tackle and you can’t win in intimacy if you blame. It’s as simple as that.
Fundamental #2: Reveal Rather Than Conceal
Now we turn our attention to this month’s fundamental, and I’ll be the first to admit that it can be frightening. This month’s fundamental is to “Reveal Rather Than Conceal.”
In a great relationship, partners live out loud with each other. They tell each other the truth—the microscopic truth. Feelings, wants, decisions, thoughts, emotions and questions are not concealed, they are revealed. Intimacy is transparency. If you conceal, hide and withhold from your partner, you are not in a healthy relationship.
In a healthy relationship, partners don’t protect each other from the truth, they respect and value each other (and themselves!) enough to reveal it. The saying, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them,” is a blatant lie. In my experience, and I do have some in this area, living incongruently and being out of integrity erodes your soul, saps your aliveness and often leads to physical and/or financial disaster.
I admit, however, that if you reveal rather than conceal, it might get a little dicey between you and your partner. That was my experience. Space does not permit me to share my full story, but suffice it to say that I led a relational double life for a little over a year. And contrary to what you might see in the movies, it’s a horrible way to live. I was a professional concealer and I can tell you it doesn’t work.
But what does work, and I know this from experience too, is being a revealer. Being open, transparent and honest—living out loud—ultimately creates harmony, happiness and closeness. Remember, there are only two paths in a relationship. The first is love, which means you reveal in order to relate; and the second is fear, which means you conceal in order to control. Those are the only two paths open to you. One leads to “heaven,” the other to “hell.” And trust me, as I’ve said, I’ve been to hell.
That said, I don’t want to give you the impression that only the “big” stuff needs to be revealed. Most men, thankfully, aren’t living double lives. Yet, if we want a great love life, we also need to refuse to withhold, hide or conceal even the “little” things. Reveal your feelings, fears, mistakes, beliefs, needs, actions, dreams and decisions. Your partner can handle it. If they can’t love and accept you for who you are and what you’re experiencing in life, then so be it.
Remember, your absolute highest priority in life is to be you and to hold nothing back. If your partner (or anyone for that matter) can’t handle who you are, then why would you want to be with them anyway? You deserve to be loved for who you are, not for who your partner, or anyone else, wants you to be.
Live out loud. Tell the microscopic truth. Make your inner conversation public. Be transparent and open. Don’t control your partner, but love them enough to tell them the truth. Reveal what you have the urge to hide. In my experience, though it might get ugly for a time, a commitment to this fundamental leads to intimacy, trust and bliss. Though this might seem daunting, it’s not. It’s so easy even a caveman can do it.
Roy Biancalana is an author, life coach and former PGA Tour player.
Provides advice to help people realize any future success starts with personal growth.
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