A Tidbit About Relational Repair


Intelligent Love Series

Telling someone you’ve been disappointed or hurt by something they did is actually a loving thing to do…

It’s loving to yourself to honor your feelings and needs, and it’s loving to others by giving them an opportunity to learn and make things right with you.  

We’ve all done it, right?  Not been honest with someone when we’ve been let down or hurt by them in some way.  We may assume they should just know, harbor silent resentment, pull away or sometimes even ghost them and break relationship.  And we have all kinds of various reasons for choosing these actions.  For the person on the receiving side, it’s often very confusing and can even be painful.  It breaks trust and greatly damages the relationship if there is unexplained silence, distance or abandonment.  And it blocks the chance of a growth opportunity for both of you and the chance to repair and restore the relationship if at all possible.  

If the behavior is toxic and abusive, and you’ve been honest and set clear boundaries and there isn’t a change but instead a repetitive pattern of toxicity or abuse, it’s healthy to distance yourself or even break relationship.  But that’s not what I’m talking about here.  

If you have a relationship with someone that is important to you, and something happens that you need to talk about in order to gain clarity, share your frustration or pain, please make the relationship the priority over the offense and talk to them.  Share your feelings, ask them questions to better understand their side and ask for what you need from them going forward.  Please give them a chance to modify something that is important to you. Healthy sharing isn’t guilting anyone, accusing them or trying to punish them, it’s openly and honestly sharing how you felt and asking for what you need in order to not feel that way.  Your feelings matter, you’re not too much, and if you’ve been hurt, it matters. 

Once you’ve shared, if they happen to share something you may not agree with, remember that their truth matters, too.  No matter how much you may disagree or see it as irrelevant to what you’re bringing to light, it’s true for them.  I encourage you to let them know how much you care about them and your relationship instead of disagreeing with their truth and instead convey that your priority is to protect your relationship and restore any confustion or damage that may have been done.  Because if you didn’t care, you wouldn’t want to restore it. 

You may need to ask for validation to redirect the conversation, even if they may not agree with your feelings.  If you need to be heard, ask for that.  It’s ok if they don’t agree with your truth, you’re not asking for that.  You’re asking to be heard and seen.   

Listen, if we love others, we don’t want to do things that make others feel unloved, right?  Open communication helps to establish honesty and express heart needs.  Love communicates that we care about each other’s needs more than being right.  And yes, it does need to go both ways. 

Speaking up and asking for what you need from others builds skill in this area, actual brain capacity, that gets easier with practice.  Doesn’t that sound better instead of harboring offense, resentment, struggling with unforgiveness, or assuming they should just know, and suffering silently?   And in having an open conversation, I would venture to say you’ll probably find out you don’t know the whole story.  

Talking about hard things also helps you grow in owning your feelings and doing something healthy about them instead of stuffing down, assuming, avoiding or abandoning someone.  And most importantly, it will hopefully lead to repairing the misunderstanding or rupture, build some trust, deepen the bond between you and give an opportunity for each of you to better understand each other and do some growing together.  

How cool is that?

Telling someone you’ve been disappointed or hurt by something they did is actually a loving thing to do.  Speaking up and asking for what we need is truly an emotional skill we are supposed to learn from a young age. No really, it is.  It’s loving to yourself to honor your feelings and needs, and it’s loving to others because it gives them an opportunity to learn and make things right with you.  

I know this can feel super awkward and unfamiliar, feel validated.  Especially if this is new and you’ve had little to no mentoring in this. (Like most of us!)  It can be so intimidating, especially if you’ve not learned how to speak up or you’ve suffered consequences for having a voice or needs in the past.  All skills take time to develop.  We’re all different, we all filter and process life completely differently.  And we all make mistakes and miss the mark.  When we know better, we have the opportunity to do better.  Let’s not take that opportunity away from ourselves or one another.   Let’s honor ourselves, our truth, and honor others and their truth.  How others respond isn’t anything you can control.  How you walk out a grace based relational repair mission is both training and taking an active role in doing something about a bruise, fracture or break in a meaningful relationship.  

Well.  Done. You.  

Healthy is hard sometimes, yet relationships are precious.   It’s not up to anyone else to manage your feelings, that’s all yours.  So if there’s someone that’s on your heart to talk to instead of being silent, I encourage you to prioritize that relationship over whatever offense may have happened so that you restore your peace and give them the opportunity to know your heart and to make it right with you. If you make restoration the goal, I know you’ll both do some growing and learning!  

So for your healing and growth journey!