Posted by Christina Smith:
Do you have people in your life that can ask the hard questions in a loving way?
Can you ask the hard questions?
There was a point in my life where I was angry a lot. I was a single mother with two jobs, doing everything – although nothing well. My marriage had broken down and I felt very alone. I had friends, but none that were brave enough to do the one thing I really needed – point out the elephant in the room, ask hard questions and be able to hold space for however that lands.
I don’t blame them, I was likely not in the space to hear the hard questions let alone answer them. I didn’t want to have to look at it and I really wanted it to be someone else’s fault (read responsibility).
This was not how I had planned my life and I was mad. I blamed my ex for everything because I was following the plan and the vision in my head and he was not. I ranted and raved with such passion and I was an exhausted, now-single mother which just fed the anger and disappointment. I was a real hot mess. I still get shivers thinking about that time in my life.
Today, I wonder how life would have been different if I had women who would have loved and supported me enough to empower me rather than sympathize. I wonder if I would have enjoyed my son’s early years more and had less severe spouts of depression. I wonder what I would have done with boatload of woman-love and woman-support to help me look at the ways I gave all my power away.
There were women in my life that heard me say things and do things that were just absolutely crazy and they were empathetic or ‘nice’. I also had women in my life who were just as angry as I was and we would bash men together. Although it was great I had women to hang out with, it certainly didn’t engage personal growth. It was a way I stayed trapped in the same old story again and again. Poor me. Nothing goes right for me. And on and on.
- What I needed most was someone who would ask me the hard questions out of love.
- What do you need?
- What do you want now?
- What can you do about your circumstance?
- What are you getting out of sabotaging yourself?
- What are you getting out of blaming others?
- How are you giving your power away and why?
- Why are you choosing the victim?
And probably a million more.
So why are we afraid to ask the hard questions?
We don’t listen enough.
It starts with listening. First we have to listen to what they are saying in order to ask good questions. We have to be present to tune in to what they are saying. In today’s tech world, this can be a challenge.
When we are really listening, we can start to hear what isn’t being said as well. Is she telling jokes with tears in her eyes? Is her body language or voice inflection saying something her words are not? Listening is the most important part of asking hard questions.
We believe love is conditional.
Maybe she won’t like me if I ask her that. My therapist asked me a question that appalled me in one of our first sessions. I went back for two years. If we really love someone, we can be ok with them not liking us in order to offer them perspective and growth someone else may not offer. We show how unconditional our love is if we ask the questions we think might help them grow.
We would rather be nice.
Nice is easy. Friends, close friends, are for loving you enough to tell you when there’s toilet paper hanging off your shoe – and to ask things no one else will or can in a good way. Nice isn’t for intimate or loving relationships that breed trust and loyalty. Nice is for acquaintances.
We fear disconnection.
This is where we have to ask ourselves. Is our fear bigger than our love for that person? If my fear is larger, I value their connection more than I love them, which is selfish. Think about it, I want you to be my friend so badly, I am not going to do what I think is best for you by helping you grow. If I love them more than I care if they are in my life, I will do what’s best for them regardless of how it affects my life.
We cannot have true connection if we are always fearing disconnection. We have to love people enough to gently ask them questions that remind them of who they truly are. Not the expectations or visions we had in our plans, but the light that is at the source of who we are.
The truth is asking the hard questions with the intent to love the other person brings more connection. It brings tighter bonds and more trust into the connection. It shows that you are willing to be brave in order to be supportive and connected.
Today, I sit in Circle with several of the most beautiful “love warriors”, I’ve ever met. They are loving, but they are strong enough to take the risks of asking the hard questions. I trust the women in my circle more than anyone to hold my shadows in front of me and remind me of my power. Sometimes it is sweet joy and sometimes it is painfully powerful. What I know is that they have my back, want what’s best for me and ask out of love – my love warriors. They protect my truth and shine a light on all the places I leave my power laying around.
Because they are willing to ask me the hard questions, I know they care. They don’t have to stick their necks out to be chopped by my anger and victim-hood, but they do because they truly love me. They hold space for me and then ask the hard questions.
The results are growth. I don’t stay stuck too long because I’ll be held accountable. I can step back into my power instead of forcing others to take responsibility for it. I learn more about myself and my choices. My life and my perspective have shifted since that young, angry, exhausted mother and it’s all because of a special group of women who have loved me enough to ask the hard questions.
My hope is that we all become love warriors and have love warriors in our lives. This is how we grow individually and together as a community.