Difficult conversations. People spend days, months, years avoiding them.
One of our potential selves might be the “avoider”. The avoider serves us well when we don’t want to deal with something. He/she/they usually comes out when it is too risky to talk about something difficult.
What makes a conversation difficult? It’s when we want two things instead of one thing.
For example, we want someone to change and we want them to like it. We want someone to change something and we also want that person to not be mad at us for wanting them to change something. We want someone to change their behavior and we still want them to be our friend. We want an employee to change his/her/their output but we also want them to continue to like and respect us.
When there are 2 things that we’re trying to do, the conversation gets much more difficult because we magnify the impact of one or the other, whichever one is harder, and so oftentimes, we avoid it altogether.
Let’s break this down a little, shall we?
In Art of Alignment Academy’s, The Art Of Mindful Communication workshops, we are invited to visit difficult conversations from the perspective of non-violent communication because we understand that this type of communication is a means towards peaceful exchanges. We are learning the importance of taking Personal Responsibility for ourselves and for practicing Listening Skills. This is quite a huge step in choosing to uplevel ourselves. We have willingly agreed to raise our levels of consciousness by choosing to practice in building a safe and trusting foundation to grow ourselves.
For some conversations, for example, because we have a pre-arranged agreement, you agree to execute what you have committed to. Sometimes, even though you have the absolute best intentions to fulfill your promise, there might be a lapse, here and there (ex: delivering your assignment on time, confronted with feelings of overwhelm, getting stuck, needing additional support).
When we experience a lapse, we agree to communicate about it so that we might honor our personal agreement to have integrity even when we falter. At other times, we realize that we have to adapt, modify and clarify, again, due to the nature of how things work. These “modifications” can be especially daunting if they are unexpected.
When we are capable of practicing the art of nonviolent communication, we grow an extra layer of compassion when confronted with difficult conversations. When we listen from an open heart, our bodies release tension, anxiety subsides. We recognize that we may have been triggered somehow and that we want to both support the group and also be supported. It is the risk of growing oneself in a space with others.
The tricky part to this is that we cannot always anticipate what and how we might be triggered by something. It takes us by surprise and it can shake our foundation.
We all have areas that need our attention and love in order to heal and grow. Our reactions are defense mechanisms that are part of our protective evolutionary development (fight/flight/freeze responses in amygdala gland) and because we tend to be such experts at hiding our misgivings and imperfections, they will always present themselves when we feel afraid of being unheard, unloved or unacknowledged.
The power that we hold together is our commitment on this journey called life. It is this infamous Year of Yes that moves us to keep our pace, every morning, and honor our commitment even though it can feel challenging at times.
I truly believe that we are better together. That our unified promise to move through this life, one loving step at a time, will transform us all.
Embrace your courage. Trust the process and dive in, without a buoy. That is how we roll, my friends! Both feet in. Full body on. Heart wide open.
Unicorns & All The Rest!