How to have Hard Conversations

In the U.S. we are two days away from the 2020 elections. The past few months and weeks have been filled with stress, worry and anxiety.

This election is a big one not only for the people in the US, but for people abroad. There is palpable fear and division that is present not only in the news, but in online forums, social media and inner conflict among groups and families.

I don’t engage with forums on social media, because in many ways it can be like a black hole that sucks you in. You may find yourself spending hours online arguing with people, who may not be in a place to truly hear you. Or you may find yourself online reading things that fuel your anger, sadness etc.

This year life is asking all of us to sit with ourselves and reflect on our truths or the truths we run from.

When you are ready, consider the following:

What ways do you hide from the truth?

What truths do you resist hearing? Why?

What truths do you wish people knew about you?

In what ways do you feel hurt?

Please take time to really think about these question, because it may not only help inform who you vote for, but how you lead your life and engage with others.

In order for us to get back to civility, we need to have hard conversations. In order to have hard conversations with others, we need to first have them with ourselves. We need to know what we resist and why. We also need to know what our bias may be. This is not an easy thing to do, but it brings you to more truth, which can shift how you communicate and connect to others.

If you lie to yourself about who you really are, what you believe, your level of happiness etc. their will always be a barrier to how you communicate and represent yourself. Once you are truthful to yourself, own your faults and past actions, empathy will emerge.

Empathy is the natural result of self love, self compassion and self forgiveness. When you own your truths, it is easier to be more authentic in your words and actions.

There was a post I read today in a Facebook group regarding a woman who was upset with her friends action. I could hear the fresh anger in her words. I also heard disappointment, that she may not have been aware was maybe more present because her anger over shadowed it.

I decided to give my advice simply because the advice that others gave her, was rooted in anger. The advice I gave, felt like something that needed to be shared beyond the group, which prompted me to write this post. That advice:

“Once you feel more calm, express your disappointment for her actions. I feel it is appropriate. We can have hard conversations. To have them, we need to lead and speak from a place of love and truth over hurt and anger.”

You may still wonder, how do you have hard conversations?

  1. First feel your emotions. Your emotions have wisdom for you, if you take the time to pause and listen to them. They may even inform you in someway or lead you to a new understanding.
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2. Think about the root of the issue. What was it specifically that made you mad, sad, disregarded etc. Once you are able to discover the root of the emotion, it may start to neutralize the emotion.

3. Think of what you want to say to your friend or family member. In this step, put yourself in that person’s shoes to think deeply about what it will feel like to receive your words. Do this until you take the emotion out of it.

4. Then, be willing to have the conversation. Make an appointment in your calendar sooner than later so that you can speak to the person, you are in conflict with, before you let the issue/hurt/concern grow.

5. Next, speak to them in person, call them on the phone or facetime them. Having these conversations in this way is recommended because it is respectful and reduces the chance of misunderstanding.

Do not text or email your friend or family member because it can be seen as disrespectful depending on the relationship, specifically if you are close. Texts and email can be misunderstood.

In person conversations allow you or your friend/ family member to ask questions for clarification that can be handled in person. If you wait too long to clarify information or address the issue you in the first place, you or your friend may start to create a story around what was not clarified or the initial hurt/pain point.

I once had a friend that was mad at me and I had no idea. She let months pass until she addressed it. When she finally addressed it, her message was drowned out by her emotion. And the time she choose to address it was also inappropriate.

6. Root your message from a place of truth and love. When you speak from that place, it shifts the conversation because you speak in a way that others are more willing to hear and are better able to receive.

I am speaking from experience with this point. I was a poor communicator as a child. I spent years in silence and I did not know how to express myself. I spent my later childhood, teenage years and early adulthood working on my communication style.

This wisdom is what emerged after years of trial and error.

Love and truth are the way. The intention of your words shifts your message.

May you be a step closer to truth, love and authentic expression. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Love – Stephanie XO

I appreciate your words. Thank you!

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