It’s Not Leukemia Either!
Franka Baly
October 12, 2013

I recently saw a Lifeclass on OWN where TD Jakes was trying to help two sisters reconcile their broken relationship and he said that whatever was affecting them needed to be mended because nothing should keep them from being in each other’s lives. He used this phrase – “It’s not leukemia either!” I now use this phrase whenever someone tries to make a small issue or misunderstanding into a mountain or more urgent and serious than it is. It made me think about the things that happen in our daily lives that we give too much power to. That we allow to take control over our lives and destroy our perceptions of ourselves.

“You don’t get angry with people that you don’t care about, you dismiss it”― Bishop T.D. Jakes

Sometimes people make their issue, your issue. They assume that you are a mind reader and that you know what they are thinking and feeling about a particular issue or in a particular situation. This happens to me at work all the time. The reality is that we have to learn to be authentic communicators.

What do I mean by that? Authentic communication simply put is that you “mean what you say and say what you mean”. You tell someone that you are communicating with exactly what it is that you want them to know and you are willing to be vulnerable in the exchange. So many times when we communicate with others, especially when it is someone we truly care about, there is a larger issue at play, that either party is either afraid of or unwilling to admit/acknowledge to themselves, so we they don’t really say what the real issue is. I love that song by India Arie called Get It Together that says it so perfectly…

“Kept it inside didn’t tell no one else didn’t even want it to admit it yourself, And now your chest burns and your back aches from 15 years of holding the pain and now you only have yourself to blame if you continue to live this way. Get it together.” Listen to this beautiful song and really hear her words.

It can totally disrupt your life and even wreck havoc in your body and your health. Sometimes the person we want to engage in the conversation with is either passive agressive or makes biting remarks and you know that there is an issue, something that they are truly unhappy with, but they won’t say what it is. You feel it, with ever fiber of your being, but you can’t confirm it because they won’t confirm it. So it’s there, like an elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. Like India says, don’t you want to fly and free yourself from this? Let’s get it together!

So much of this has to do with forgiveness also which is key in broken relationships, but today I want to talk about authentic communication. Being authentic is easier when you feel safe with the person and you trust them. When there is no trust or past pain, it is so much harder. But if you want to establish healthier relationships with the people in your lives that you care about, you have to be willing to take this leap and expose yourself and be vulnerable to heal the relationship. Remember that Vulnerability = Strength, it is not weakness. It’s also important to remind you again that only 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word and 93% is based on nonverbal body language. People show their pain, discomfort, displeasure, dislike, and dismissiveness in everything that they do. You know when there is a problem with someone in your life. Don’t run from it, address it.

One thing I know for sure is that life is very short. A person you love can be here today and gone tomorrow. Do you want them to leave this earth with misunderstandings driving a chasm between you? Its not worth it and the pain will linger long after they are gone. The finality of death has a way of getting people to act. I witnessed this when I was a patient counselor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. That’s why Bishop Jakes comment resonated with me so much.

So here are three ways to communicate more authentically with yourself and others:

1. Identify what you want.  Be clear first with yourself and then with the other person what you truly want from them. What is it that you are you not getting from them? What needs to change in your relationship? They may not be aware of what you need from them because you may have never told them. Here’s your chance to enlighten them so you can go forward building a new relationship. If they don’t respond with trying to meet your needs, then you will know immediately and filter them out of your life, once and for all. Caveat: This doesn’t apply to family members or siblings (those relationships you can never walk away from).

Start by answering the question below.

I want __________________________________________________.

2.  Determine why what you want is important to you.  It is important to me because _________________.  Be honest with yourself. If you start with that then you can be honest with the other person. In families this is not something you can run from. They are your blood and whether you choose to authentically love them back or not, they are going to be in your life in some way. How they are in your life, is up to you.

3.  Be willing to take the risk to be vulnerable and authentic. I’m not gonna lie, this is hard, but it is worth it. I live this way and practice this muscle all the time so now I find it uncomfortable when I can’t be vulnerable. I am recommending that you be able to articulate what you want and why in a way that may not be comfortable for you but do it anyway!! Your relationship is worth it.

Operating from a place of authenticity and love can truly nurture wonderful relationships in your life. It’s so beautiful when you can just talk to someone and not have to guess or wonder what they meant. You both say what you mean and there is level of comfort and trust that exists. It’s the most beautiful way to communicate with the people in your life. I hope that if this is an area that you are struggling with, that you will take steps to begin working on it today, it can truly be freeing to your spirit and transformative to the relationships in your life.

Much love,

Franka

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on authentic communication. Has inauthentic communication or misunderstandings affected your relationships? Share it now with me in the comments below!

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HEY THERE!

I’m Franka Baly, CXO

Franka Baly

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