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Vulnerability: Authentic and Positive

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Being Authentic and owning responsibility, while being positive… how do you balance these aspects of yourself and have communication.

Join relationship expert Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com as they share simple, practical steps you can take to bring the passion back into your life, and create warmth and love again.

Cathy: Hey, everyone. If you’re being more vulnerable in sharing, being more transparent, part of that is being authentic in sharing who you are, where you are and sometimes that’s not always pretty but there’s also a balance between that and focusing on the positive, noticing the good things in our lives. So how do we find that balance? How do we be authentic and also still have room to see the positive, the sunny side of life?

Reid: Well the way I took this topic to mean is how to be authentic and when do you not bring in all the negative stuff.

Cathy: Okay.

Reid: Because there’s like — so Brad Blanton wrote a book called Radical Honesty.

Cathy: Great book.

Reid: Great book, it has lot of swear words in it —

Cathy: Yeah. He’s a little bit crazy, but it’s really good information.

Reid: It’s rare to find a self-help book with swear words in it and it’s delightful for me in my New York sensibilities and his thing is tell the truth no matter what at all costs. It’s a great framework but I do think you need to pull back a little bit on it because what people end up doing is they use radical honesty as a means of bludgeoning people–

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: – with their opinions.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: And so one way to figure this out is when are you sharing with people things that are going on for you versus when are you offering people your opinion when they didn’t ask for it.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: And so for me the authenticity piece is hey, you know, I’ve got this stuff going on, I’m using a lot of I statements for things that are happening for me and I’m being authentic in sharing with you my actual concerns and what’s going on for me. But I’m not dumping on you and I’m not using my authenticity and vulnerability and transparency as a means of like taking a swipe at you.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: You know, the joke in the self-help communities is use your I statements and then somebody is like well I think you’re an a-hole.

Cathy: [Laughs]

Reid: So this is more about being authentic and being in the moment and voicing responsibly when you’re having challenges with somebody’s behavior or what’s going on in a situation, but also whenever you can say positive things, that’s authentic too.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: If you’re not sharing and being vulnerable about acknowledgements and affirmations and positive things more than you’re sharing and being authentic about the negative stuff, something weird is going on and it’s probably on your side of it around some sort of integrity piece.

Cathy: Or maybe some needs are not getting met and you’re not asking for them directly.

Reid: Sure which is still ultimately it’s on you.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: You’re in charge of getting your needs met and so if you’re the unhappy one and all you have in a relationship is to complain because that’s authentic for you to complain, I’m going to sit here as Reid the relationship coach and be like why are you still in this relationship.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: What’s that about, where is the authenticity there.

Cathy: Right.

Reid: Where are you taking responsibility for it?

Cathy: What if it’s not particularly about the relationship? What if a person is having a really rough week and we’ve all heard people say oh focus on the positive, but what if you’re generally — genuinely, I can’t talk today, genuinely feeling like crap and you’re having trouble focusing on the positive? Is it authentic to share that with someone who’s close to you or should you really try to be in your power and be positive?

Reid: I have this image of somebody has stabbed you with a knife and you’re like what a nice knife, look at this, look at the detail work on this handle grip.

Cathy: And they stabbed me so it didn’t rip my trousers.

Reid: This is really nice because you know what you just missed my heart. And I haven’t died instantly. Thank you so much. No. That’s not what that’s about. Acknowledge what’s real, that’s authentic. What’s actually going on is today I have a migraine and I just broke a tooth and I feel crappy right now. 

Cathy: Uh-hum.

Reid: Thank you for sharing, how can I support you in you getting that handled for you?

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: Ultimately, I’m not trying to be a dick about it but ultimately, I need you to tell me to the extent that you can hopefully what’s going on, what do you need.

Cathy: Right.

Reid: You also need to do that to yourself, what’s going on, what do I need, how do I get my needs met.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: Can I ask for help, support, most of us could always use to ask for more help and support.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: I have three fingers pointing back at me because I don’t do it that often. You know, so making invitations for people to contribute when you have needs is not a bad thing. It’s when you spew it all over everybody and expect them to take care if it all, which might just be a mood thing because you’re having such a bad day and you’re so cranky.

Cathy: We all have days like that.

Reid: Yeah. But then when you catch yourself doing that, apologize for being a cranky pants Johnson and thank them for not punching you in the head because you —

Cathy: Which would not help with the migraine.

Reid: Which would not help with the migraine. The authenticity piece is be true to yourself but also be – you know, a healthy dose of realism helps and then you can focus on the positive but not at the exclusion of what’s actually going on.

Cathy: Not try to shove it down or push it away.

Reid: Yeah. Don’t ignore it and I think there’s also something else to be said here around, you know, people who focus on the positive at the exclusion of what’s actually going on but at the same time you’re avoiding something. Usually, it’s your own responsibility in the situation, usually for most people.

Cathy: Okay.

Reid: So, you know, the authenticity piece also means being a realist and then being like okay, what do I actually have control over or can influence. Where can you empower yourself —

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: — in that situation, that’s the positive I focus on.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: Not the, oh my, look how beautiful this knife is. It’s, oh, I’m getting myself to a hospital right now.

Cathy: Yes

Reid: Or having somebody dial 911.

Cathy: And if it’s —

Reid: That’s a horrible example by the way but it’s just —

Cathy: Really.

Reid: — what came out.

Cathy: And if it’s nothing so dire as a knife in the chest, I find that it helps sometimes to look at the bigger picture of my life because I know that when I’m having a really rough day my focus is kind of drawn into the thing that’s really knocking me for a loop. Sometimes just sharing with someone can help me get there but sometimes I can just take a nice deep breath and kind of look around like okay that part of my life is not working really well today but there’s all these other areas that are working.

Reid: When you fall down, don’t try to pretend you didn’t fall down. Have your little tantrum.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: And then get back up.

Cathy: And do something about it

Reid: Or ask somebody for a hand to get back up.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: It’s in the actions that you take when you’re having the bad day, that’s the important stuff.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: That’s the behavioral stuff. If you just sit there and get caught up in your negativity psychologically or focus at the exclusion of reality on the positive, you’ve actually not made any movement in —

Cathy: You’ve locked yourself —

Reid: — in my opinion.

Cathy: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you, Reid.

Reid: You’re welcome.

Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com and we’d love to hear what you think, leave comments below.

Reid: Yeah. Don’t talk about the knife thing. I’m sorry about that. That was a bad example. I mean you can leave comments about the knife but, yeah, probably not. Did you just face palmed? You face palmed.

Cathy: I did.

Reid: She face palmed. I’m going to focus on the positive of that.

Cathy: What is that?

Reid: That you didn’t stab me.

 

More articles on improving communication and relationship skills:

Vulnerability: Sharing without Being a Victim

Privacy and Snooping

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