By Samantha McKenzie
Tough conversations. Most women, including myself, shy away from having them. We prefer not to ruffle feathers and become skilled in avoiding conflicts.
The idea of hurting someone’s feelings just isn’t worth it, we tell ourselves. The thought that our words would leave another person upset makes us cringe. So, instead of facing the truth, we build barriers instead of bridges and we never get around to saying what really matters in the moment.
I used to make up scenarios in my head about how those difficult conversations could possibly go. It would start out with my good intentions in tow, then suddenly someone would take a sharp left, misunderstand what was said, and almost always my efforts would crash and burn. These make-believe stories always had a great beginning, rickety middle and tragic ending. I convinced myself that the other person was either too hard headed and wouldn’t listen anyway, or that they were too fragile and wouldn’t recover.
None of it was the truth. I didn’t realize that playing it safe was turning me into a liar. Silencing yourself can do that ya know. And the real villain in the story was fear.
We should focus on what really matters. Try telling a co-worker how it affects you when he’s not pulling his weight on a project. Tell a friend what’s really hindering your relationship. Ask yourself, will having this conversation be beneficial to both of us? If so, it’s time to discuss what’s at the heart of the matter.
Commit more time to conversations that move your actions forward. And don’t shy away from exploring vulnerable discussions too. Try sharing with your spouse the one thing that hurts your feelings. Tell your significant other you love him at the exact time you feel it. Stop waiting for him to say it first.
Saying what matters is an evolutionary tool. Conversations that shift our thinking help us grow up. When one person grows, we all grow. Say what matters. Make it count.