Being in a relationship – be it collegial, romantic, or familial – means that you’ll experience moments where words need to be expressed and you choose to remain quiet.
Time goes by and the situation, the things left unsaid live inside you, growing into greater anxiety, uncertainty, doubt, frustration or anger.
Not talking – a lie of omission – creates more awkwardness and tension in the relationship. (If you think the other person is oblivious to this, you’re wrong. Think of times when you knew something was up even when the other person says nothing… You can sense it by their eyes, the feel of their handshake or hug or touch, the tone of their voice.)
Tough challenges don’t go away, but they are often difficult to talk about.
According to the book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Bruce Patton, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, the 3 biggest errors people make in conversations (or lack thereof) are:
- Assuming you already know all you need to know to understand and explain a situation
- Hiding your feelings (or letting them loose in ways you later regret)
- Ignoring who you are, acting as if your identity is separate from the issues.
Avoiding these mistakes isn’t easy.
It’s important to shift your thinking from I need to explain/justify myself to I need to listen and learn more about what’s going on.
The key to any difficult (or courageous) conversation is preparation .
Get clarity: What are YOU thinking and feeling (what are the stories you are telling yourself about the situation/person)? What are the things that have been left unsaid and why?
Open your heart: put yourself in the other person’s shoes – If you were them, what might you be thinking and feeling but not saying?
Taking the time to understand both perspectives prior to engaging in a conversation is the best preparation for a heartfelt outcome.
It’s what we most crave. From cradle to grave, we navigate life seeking connection. Being willing to engage in difficult conversations repeatedly when socialized conditioning might have you retreat into silence is one of the most powerful skills you will ever master.
My clients, learn step by step the skills needed to stay connected to the other person despite the myriad of challenges that may arise. They know the value of honesty, genuineness and sincerity
It’s a powerful stand for Love.
So, how are you meant to prepare to share the things you’ve left unsaid?
Let’s talk. Schedule your complimentary Discovery Session click here now. Looking forward to supporting you in your next expression steps