"When we avoid difficult conversations we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction."
We often avoid difficult conversations. We fear consequences & repercussions we are not prepared to face. The strategy that we often use is to distract the conversation, brush it off, put it under the carpet assuming that if we don't face it, we will be relieved. But, alas this is not the truth! The more we push the difficult conversations aside, the more we risk ourselves of it's bitter consequences. Difficult conversation could be with anyone, including self. Can be on any topic, any aspect of one's life. It's like a spring, the more you force against it, the more it tends to sprung. Interestingly, the cornerstone of true connection is the ability to have difficult conversations.
Are you in touch with your actual emotional state? Are you aware of the deeper emotions driving your thoughts, feelings, behaviors; sometimes without even you being aware of it? Do you know yourself truly? Are you willing to have that daring & difficult conversation with self first to be aware of your emotional state? Better self-awareness empowers us to make the desirable changes in life. We can accordingly build on our strengths & identify areas we would like to improve. By being aware, we discover our uniqueness and give ourselves the power to experience that. As far as my own experience goes, we deny having the difficult conversation. Sometimes we know the truth and the truth has the ability to shake the very foundation of our upbringing and hence we deny listening to that. When our intention to become our better selves is higher, we can easily challenge ourselves to have that conversation. But, when we are more concerned in protecting our hidden self from us and others, we find it difficult. There is a beautiful saying,"The cave that we fear to enter has the treasure that we are looking for." So, it is important that we challenge ourselves to enter that cave to look for the treasure.
Here are few steps to empowering yourself to having the difficult conversation:
1. Identify one difficult conversation that you are thinking about having or know that you need to have either in personal or professional sphere.
2. Identify your intention of having that difficult conversation. Is it sourced in pure joy of uncovering or a hidden agenda of blaming the other person or criticizing self?
3. Have an open mind to explore different perspectives & stories & not argue.
4. What will you take responsibility for and what actions will you take to correct it?
5. How are you going to deal with your feelings during the conversation? Unexpressed feelings take a toll on our self-esteem and relationships. Thus it's not about not expressing the emotions but about being matured enough to understand it and put it across in a receptive way.
I leave you with this inquiry, "Is the real conflict inside you? Maybe you need a conversation with yourself first than with anyone else!" What do you say? Are you ready to have a difficult conversation with yourself?
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals