having difficult conversations by women's leadership coach and spiritual teacher thais

Hey rockstar! 

This past week I had two difficult conversations that I really didn't want to have. Conversations that required me telling someone else how I felt and how their behavior was not ok by me. Conversations that I would rather die than have.

And in the past, I did just that. Well, not die obviously, but stuff my feelings in and not say a damn thing. Because I was NOT going to be the one to ruin the relationship. The sad irony there is that by not being upfront with my friendships, I always somehow ended up losing them.

In this day and age, it is unavoidable that we will run into communication issues with others. Whether it's a problem with a roommate or a challenge with a friend or a lack of respect from a coworker, there are plenty of opportunities for us to express our needs.

But we have a problem. We were never really taught how to have these types of challenging conversations. Quite the opposite, we were taught to keep our mouths shut. To not rock the boat. To not say anything that would hurt someone's feelings. To let it go. Etc etc.

Which then leads us to feel resentment towards the other person, but more importantly, to ourselves because we never stood up for our own needs. When we "let it go" inauthentically we are essentially saying that other people's needs to be sheltered is more important than our needs to express. 

You can see how this causes internal duress. Since we don't say anything in the moment, when we do end up speaking up, it tends to be forceful, rude or even mean.

So let me clear up some stuff for you right now. Because if you are going to be the powerful leader that you are, this type of communication barrier simply cannot exist. You got too much important stuff to do.

So, darling, if someone does something that hurts you, you have every right to say something. If someone does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to say something. If you were put off in any capacity, you have a right to say something.

Enough with the rationalization for why we should just understand why others did what they did and stuff our feelings inside. Enough with the keeping the mouth closed. Enough with being scared to share what we are genuinely feeling because we don't think the other person can handle it.

You have a responsibility for taking ownership for how others treat you. If someone treats you a certain way, it's because you have somehow given them permission to do so. 

And if that's the case, it is of VITAL importance that you say something. Not for their sake, but for YOURS.

Every time a friend hurts or offends you, even if they totally didn't mean it, and you don't say anything, it creates an energy block within you and within the relationship. After a while, this block becomes a real wedge in what is otherwise a great friendship. And that is much much worse than speaking up for how you feel.

Just like you want feedback if you accidentally hurt someone, trust that you relationship can endure a little honesty. 

Now I am not saying to tell everyone all the time how they should be acting. Nor am I encouraging you to be confrontational. All I am saying is, most of the time we don't tell people how we truly feel and we sacrifice our well being for it. I know personally that a lot of my binge eating issues started because I was afraid to express myself authentically.

So here are my magical tips for entering difficult dialogue. You will find that the more you stand up for yourself, the move self-love you will experience, the more energy you will feel {because you have opened up all those energy blocks}, and the stronger your relationships will be.

STEP ONE: Get clear on what you want the OUTCOME of the conversation to be. Do you want to make the person feel like a piece of shit because they forgot your birthday? Probably not. What you REALLY want is to feel cared for and understood. You want the other person know how much you care that they care. Getting clear on the intention before you enter the conversation is like walking into the woods with a compass, it allows you to direct the flow of the conversation in the direction that is amiable for both of you. Remember, if your intention isn't coming from a higher place, it's not the right intention.

STEP TWO: Get curious. Let go of all assumptions and meaning that you have placed into the conversation and come into it with an open mind. You don't know why they forgot your birthday, but most likely, it wasn't out of malice. So instead of coming right up front with a massive attack, ASK QUESTIONS. Drop the expectations and allow the conversation to grow organically. If you come into the conversation from a place of assumption, the other person will immediately put their defense up. And that's not helpful for either of you.

STEP THREE: Come with feelings. At the end of the day, the only thing you have is your perspective of the situation, which is completely biased on your end. So instead of stating what happened as if it were facts, approach it with how you felt. This allows for a more vulnerable dialogue where the other person will also feel more willing to share their feelings. So instead of, "you forgot my birthday, you jackass," you say, "I feel hurt because you forgot my birthday and I was really looking forward to spending quality time together." See the difference? One opens up the dialogue, the other closes it off.

STEP FOUR: Allow the other person to react the way they will react. At the end of the day, you cannot control what they are going to say. They may have to spend some time thinking about what you said. They may get angry. They may be completely relieved that you said something. Or they may be totally grateful that you cared so much about the relationship that you were willing to get super uncomfortable with it. Either way, the only thing you can control is what YOU DO. So do your best. Speak with authenticity and love. And whatever happens, trust it's the right thing for the relationship. Whatever you do, do not let your stories about how they may react keep you from speaking up. That's not up to you. Give people the freedom to surprise you.

As a leader, you are beyond mediocrity and status quo. That means accepting only the best from yourself and those around you. Engaging in honest, compassionate and loving conversations is the best way to make sure you are spending your time and resources on those who are on the same level of transparency and greatness. 

What conversation can you commit to having this week that will greatly relieve some of your stress?

To your worth,