The simplest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line.
A reader asks me what he must do in a situation when he has let his wife down. His wife is a very loving, very compassionate lady – she does not even realize she has been let down! She keeps showering him with all her love. This makes the man feel even more guilty. He does not know how to face her. He asks me how can he tell her “all that she must know” without having a “fear of being rejected or punished for his actions.” “I don’t want to hurt her. I don’t want to hurt myself. I want it to be smooth. Is there a way,” he asks me.
The only quality worth striving for in any conversation is to keep it honest. Trying to make a conversation simple or easy, trying to cushion someone from the impact of the message or outcome, trying to control the outcome of the conversation – all these, quite frankly, are irrelevant. What is it that you want to tell someone? Can you sit down and say it with a straight face, honestly. If, as in the reader’s case, you want to appraise someone of what you have done, what you have learnt from doing so and seek their understanding, then just say it. Be honest. Say everything there is to it – don’t hold back, don’t sugarcoat – just say it! The same approach works when you are giving feedback to someone or are sharing perspective with them. The point of avoiding hurt and injury has often already been transgressed in such cases. For instance, if the reader wanted not to hurt his wife, he may well have never let her down. Or if you were not already hurt over someone’s behavior, you will not necessarily be in a conversation with them sharing perspective or providing feedback.
I have learnt that the simplest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. If something has to be said, just say it. If you must tell someone you love them, say it. If you must say sorry, say it. If you must hold a mirror to someone, hold it. And when you can’t get yourself to say it face-to-face send them a WhatsApp message. Simple. Grief and guilt, in such situations, come only from postponing, or fighting shy of, what you really want to communicate.