What’s the elephant’s name?

Closeup photograph of an elephant's faceThere’s an elephant in the room.

It’s the conversation you don’t want to have.

It’s the thing you’re uncomfortable about sharing.

It’s the topic you’re anxious about discussing.

Whatever it is, you think about it often – but never straight on; always kind of sideways, like when you look out the corner of your eye because you don’t want to get caught staring at someone.

And this elephant stands between you and another person. It’s a barrier in your relationship. It keeps you from being open, natural, and comfortable together. It might even keep you from spending time with them … and if it’s a good friend, close family member, or important professional colleague, that’s very sad.

You might believe the other person doesn’t know about the elephant. I assure you, they do. They may not know its name – the specific topic or issue involved – but they know it’s there.

Continuing to dance around the elephant is exhausting. It’s the worst kind of emotional labor: the kind that has no real value, and just drains your energy.

Whatever the elephant is, it’s time to name it. Time to look it in the eye and make a choice.

Will you let the elephant go – really, truly let it go, let it stop bothering you, let it move out from between you and the other person?

Or will you say what you need to say, speak the elephant’s name out loud, and have the important conversation you need to have?

Photograph of an elephant