Initiating the unspoken

Situation: We have something we urgently need to tell someone but are reluctant to do so because we expect what we have to say would affect that someone and the relationships connected with them so irretrievably and severely that all our lives will be forever changed beyond recall and imagination; and we secretly hope some deus ex machina will occur and miraculously resolve the situation for us.

Few can come right out and say it; some spend years searching for that courage; many suffer in silence and live quiet half lives of desperation.

The first thing that can be said about the situation is there is no deus ex machina. It will not happen as we hope for or fantasize. That is usually a contrived plot device for fiction, so it has no application to real life. The situation will not change unless we do something about it. It will not resolve itself.

The second is about timing: There is no perfect moment and there will never be a perfect moment when that someone will be ready or prepared to hear what we have to say and take it in the best way possible. There will always be something that will make that planned for moment imperfect and the mind will easily fashion us extremely reasonable and helpful excuses for us to take comfort in. We only have the present to do the things we need to do; the past is over and the future has not yet begun.

The third is about the initiating words: There is no need for an excuse to initiate the conversation because the need itself is a sufficient excuse. It also does not need exquisitely wrought phrases. Simplicity is the handmaiden of directness; and directness is best for something urgent and necessary. It is as simple as, I need to tell you something. What comes after will be natural because we have rehearsed that part in our minds many times already.

The fourth is resolve. Hold fast to why we felt that urgent need in the first place; let that memory fill our veins so we do not forget and waver. Remember, even the longest nights eventually breaks into dawn, and this too shall pass. It is what it is.

The fifth is whatever happens after the unspoken is spoken must be approached and dealt with genuine sensitivity, empathy, respect and kindness; both words and action will convey that, but actions work better like apologies work better than accusations. We accommodate but we do not pander. The following quote from Maya Angelou is appropriate: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.

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