I know who I want to be in this world. I know the type of relationships I want to build into. I also know how I want to treat others and how I’d like to be treated.
But knowing and doing are 2 different things… Knowing is usually easy. Doing is where the real work comes in.
I’ve chosen to have 3 really hard conversations with 3 separate people within one week. WTH Life?!? They were the type of conversation that might really hurt someone’s feelings or where someone might really be angry or defensive with me. The type of conversation that is sometimes easier to avoid, to make up an excuse, or just tell someone what you think they want to hear. I tried doing each of those for a little while.
But, I know me… If I don’t clear the air, I will stew. I can’t maintain that way for long because feelings and assumptions stew and brew into a pretty destructive concoction. Issues start to fester and I fill in blanks that I really didn’t know for sure. I assign motives that aren’t the most well-intentioned and build my own case against the person. Regardless of the outcome, I knew I needed to have the conversations if I wanted to have a clear heart and clear mind.
As much as I didn’t want to, I made each of the calls. I asked if they had the time to talk and when granted the green light, I proceeded to share my experience, perspective, and feelings about the separate situations. I shared respectfully, honestly, and straight from my heart without excuses, apology, or passifying. When I was done, I made room for their feelings and responses and allowed them to have time and space to process and share their perspectives. Each call took less than 10 minutes but the impact was huge.
We all hung up the phone feeling heard and understood. There was explanation offered without attack or justification. There was clarity, compassion, authenticity, vulnerability, and understanding. There was even an apology where needed.
So my challenge to you is this: what conversations do you need to have? As scary as they may be, as much as you may want to avoid, what is the cost of living with this unspoken conflict? How might it serve you better to practice respectfully clearing the air?
Your approach matters. Your timing matters and their perspective matters too. Clarity about your needs and expectations matter. But are you willing to risk difficult conversation to live a healthier, more authentic life? I promise you, the payoff is amazing!