Friday, July 23, 2010

honesty & confrontation

I have never been good at confronting others. Funny, enough, I am choosing careers where this is not only unavoidable but is taught and practiced pretty much everyday. Seriously, counseling loves relational tension. As human beings, we are constantly dealing with relationships, understanding them, learning from them, making them, mending them, letting go, and the list goes on. When we hit conflict, that is the perfect opportunity for change.

Along with confrontation, I'm not so great at honesty. I like to tell myself that I am completely open with my closest friends and myself. The reality is I am not good at telling others what I'm thinking or feeling. I wouldn't say I fake it, but I have my moments where I hide and suppress and decide not to deal with things, issues, or problems. I suppose somewhere in the past twenty-one years I learned time and space will fix it or some things need left unsaid (especially if it makes it worse).

And that, folks, is exactly where God is challenging me this summer. My girls force me to communicate, be honest, and make amends. In group counseling last semester, I learned so much about how group teaches you to be real with others. When you provide a safe space, the group members can be completely honest with one another, which addresses bad thinking or allows them to recognize their faults, assumptions, misinterpretations, etc. That class was perfect for me last semester. I not only gained insight from other's experiences in the group, but I grew to trust those six others girls (and our male facilitator) more than I imagined. It was really good for me, you know.

Yet that experience led and prepared me for this one, and now God is teaching me how to communicate in situations where I'm not going to be fully accepted or loved by others. I'm not always going to be able to express my feelings and concerns to explain certain situations to the girls in my program. While I do not need to be liked or understood, I need to do my part to be honest and make amends.

Confidentiality doesn't really allow me to go into detail what happened, but last night I had an amazing conversation with one of my girls. It was a hard conversation. I couldn't describe to her what the consequences would be for certain behaviors on behalf of her and another girl. Yet I am amazed by the honesty she had. Together we discussed better outcomes of the situation, and I encouraged her to act in a way  I know she is capable of doing. Through that communication, trust is slowly being built. But more than that, this girl showed great maturity, growth, and strength, which is what she needs when she leaves this program.

If I hadn't followed up with her about the incident, this conversation wouldn't have happened. I am not even sure how to really express what this all means to me. I just know even after I leave my internship this moment will stick with me for a very long time.


  1. This is awesome, Emilie. As a fellow not-so-good-at-opening-up-TRULY-honestly, I appreciate this. And how God has pushed me out in these areas, too. Marriage will push you in this, too. In good ways, in hard ways. Love you.

  2. aw, thanks, kimmy, i can't wait to see you when i get home. lots to talk about. love you!