Leading up to and when my relationship with my wife began I was experimenting with some behaviors that were fairly new to me…ala, experimenting in the cycle of Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory. It didn’t take long until I was seeing powerful results in my relationship to warrant moving from experimentation to practice. I think what really happened is that I committed to practice anyway prior to seeing any results. The behavior I’m talking about is one of full disclosure. Sharing everything. Whether I wanted to or not. Whether it seemed like a good idea or not. Definitely whether it was safe or not. It took some time, but over the years I felt fully known by another human being. Not just sort of known, or mostly known, but fully and unequivocally known.
Freeing and powerful are words that come to mind when I think of the new space of relationship that this allowed for. It really altered what was possible in relationship and at the same time it forced me to alter who I was being not only in the relationship but outside of the relationship. Certain things that I may have tried to “get away with” in the past weren’t possible anymore when full disclosure was the order of the day. Being pushed around in shopping carts by drunken friends while totally inebriated took on a whole new meaning when truth was a commitment to be lived from and within.
Despite the fear that is initially present with it, once the possibility of that kind of relationship is revealed there really is no choice anymore. I first saw it, like a lightning flash, when somebody I knew told me about a truth that she told. She put everything at risk and told it anyway because she saw that to not tell it was just a waste of time and that to tell it, and to put everything on the line anyway, would change everything in an instant. That’s the way it works too. As soon as it comes out of your mouth everything changes. There’s no taking it back. It’s a$$ on the line, no holds barred, life at stake.
In that space and with everything on the line, relationships take on a whole new meaning and gain a whole new area to expand into. Secure, real relationship is built as long as that integrity is maintained.
Eventually, and it takes a while, a certain level of comfort develops with disclosure. One is secure and grounded in one relationship with another human being that “helps, supports, and encourages each step in the process” and experimentation begins again.
This is where I am today. I’ve been experimenting with full disclosure. With many people. Experimenting, seeing what would happen, observing, pulling back, trying again. Could I develop deep, powerful relationships with many people? Create a tribe as some people call them. Could I be so known by them that they begin to see that I am them as I see that they are me?
Somehow, it doesn’t feel like it’s being courageous when it’s just an experiment. I’m just learning after all – building on my strengths while reducing my gaps. But man is it freeing and fun.