Have you ever tried to have an important and difficult conversation with someone you're intimate with -- hoping and praying it would go smoothly....and really REALLY trying your best to handle yourself well -- only to have it explode in your face and leave you in an even worse place than when you started?
Yeah. I know that place well and it umm...sucks!
See, in the past, I thought that if I could just show up to difficult conversations from a place of authenticity -- and really share my truth calmly -- that all would go well.
But what I discovered was that despite all the skills I thought I had around communication....and my ability to be authentic, transparent and calm -- I was still blowing these conversations!
This threw me and was deeply frustrating.
What the hell was I doing wrong??
After some time it became clear to me.
See, it's one thing to communicate honestly and be in integrity with ourselves and our truth. That's all fine and dandy and it's a great start!
It's a whole other thing though, to communicate honestly from a place of kindness, warmth, and compassion for the OTHER person and their experience.
Now this might seem obvious -- but this is what I was missing!
See -- expressing our truth to someone is great. However -- if we do that without really holding space for the other person -- we're missing the real opportunity for connection and healing.
If we're approaching our conversations from a place of wanting to defend ourselves, get feelings off our chest, and have the other person hear us....then it's nearly impossible for us to actually get the other person's experience and truly connect with them.
Because when we're consumed with getting our points across -- we fail to truly hear the other person.
If we're not hearing them ....then they don't feel heard, seen or understood.
And if they don't feel heard, seen and understood..... then, yep -- the shit hits the fan. They start to feel defensive. And you'll just end up in a battle of 'points' you're trying to get across to each other -- versus really listening to one another. And as we all know -- that ain't pretty!
So how do we avoid this?
If we approach difficult conversations from a place of wanting to understand the other person -- versus trying to get them to understand us -- then we actually have a chance at increasing our intimacy with them and working through our conflict.
If we're not helping the person we're in conflict with feel heard, seen and understood ....then most likely the conversation won't be successful.
Listen, I'm not saying this is easy. Because it's definitely not ;-)