Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) is a poet, feminist theorist, and writer of prose. Here, she gives us this beautiful conceptualization of the power of speaking ones truth in relationships:
An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.
It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.
It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
When she writes of the violence inherent in honorable human relationships, I take her to mean the brutal way in which learning to speak our truth and hearing another’s can feel like we are being battered. And in a way, we are. As the sculptor hammers away with his chisel to reveal the inherent masterpiece that dwells in a block of marble, so we too must sometimes be chiseled and hammered in order to reveal our inherent magnificence. Ms. Rich goes on to speak so eloquently of the reasons why this is important. If our relationships are going to be laboratories for growth, we must break down self-delusion and isolation. We must recognize and honor our complexity. And in truth, there are very few people with whom we can walk this path. Does your primary relationship allow for this? Do you allow this of your partner, even if if feels terrifying as they explore their truth? As I often say, growing in relationship is not for the faint of heart. Are you on board?
Until next time, peace.