In relationships, we want to be heard and fully known. How do we do that? Especially when we live in a society that does not often understand how to express our emotions and values?
In the book The Dance of Connection Harriet Lerner makes seven key points about what an authentic voice looks like in a relationship.
Seven ways to have an authentic voice: We are able to
- share competence as well as problems and vulnerability.
- warm things up and cool things down.
- listen and ask questions that allow us to truly know the other person and to gather any information that may affect us.
- define our values, convictions, principles, and priorities, and do the best to act in accordance with them.
- define what we feel entitled to in a relationship and we clarify the limits of what we will tolerate or accept in another’s behavior.
- leave (meaning that we can financially and emotionally support ourselves), if necessary.
Essentially, this list is about being able to express emotions, expectations, beliefs, and priorities in a controlled way.
Relationships do not have to include yelling and out of control arguing. We, as fully functioning individuals, have the ability to act according to our true self. This allows us to achieve happiness and peace without putting our life in control of another.
Written by: Chelsey Beauchamp, LPC
Article updated: February 7, 2024