Brene Brown Is a brilliant researcher. She came into prominence doing a TED talk on “The Anatomy of Trust.” Equally important is her sense of humor and down-to-earth relatable presentations. She is clear and her suggestions can be put into action. She uses an acronym, BRAVING, to describe qualities of trust.
The last, Generosity, is so important in relationships, perhaps even most significant in the marital/partner connection. Since nobody, even those of us that put considerable effort into speaking with kindness, will surely falter on occasion. When feeling hurt, angry, stressed or defensive, it is easy to speak before thinking. Such times are the “red zone” and mindfulness is needed to curb speech that wounds. But there are countless times that we are completely unaware of how comments may be heard as hurtful. So, for the sake of the relationship, how helpful it would be to assume first, that the other did not INTEND to sling an arrow, even though it may be experienced as one.
Then, even though gasping for breath, generosity calls for emotional honesty. Responses such as, “I know you did not intend to be hurtful, but I was really upset when you “said...” , “did....” or “forgot ...”. These kinds of statements allow your friend, partner, spouse to know you more deeply. It is a request for understanding and a bid for mutual vulnerability. At the heart of your conversation is the communication that despite being upset or hurt, you know that the intention was not meant to be a wound. The product of these kinds of interactions is greater authenticity. I trust you that your intentions towards me are kind and I trust you enough to tell you how what you say and/or do affects me. I trust you will know I am risking to be real and not intending to hurt you with my taking exception to what you have done or said. It is always an opportunity to clarify. In clarifying, it does not dismiss the hurtful feelings, nor is it defensive. Generosity calls for it to be reassuring.
Now assuming a generous understanding does not hold when there is name calling, sarcasm or most deadly, contempt.
Clearly, these instances call for both setting boundaries and repair with a meaningful apology.
To hear more from Brene on the seven aspects that together define Trust, visit her YouTube presentation. The link to hear more is below.