Sometimes someone we love very much does or says something that upsets us deeply.
It is difficult to know how to handle these situations in which we need to speak our truth, but do not want to create a rift in the relationship.
However, holding the upset in is what will really begin to create cracks in our hearts; our anger and frustration at whatever has been said or done will fester, grow and manifest into unkindness, an explosion or passive aggressive behavior that benefits no one.
Instead, if we learn to communicate clearly and kindly with those we love, we can express how we feel, prevent a similar situation from happening again, and grow even closer to the person that means so much to us.
I’ve created a list for you of my go-to practices that always allow me to communicate clearly and kindly with a loved one, even about sticky stuff.
Like my mother has always said, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”
1.Remember you love each other, and mention it often. This is someone whose relationship, heart and time you value. Let this be known from the get-go, and continually repeat it throughout the conversation.
2. Know what you want to say-do not have this conversation when high on emotion. Allow the wave to pass, and then in clarity figure out least a guideline of what you want to say.
3. Do not put them on the defense–acknowledge again that you love them, and you know they do not intentionally mean to hurt or upset you. Let them know you know they do the best they can, and that because they love you so much you know you’re able to express your truth to them. Thank them for showing up and hearing you.
4. Stay calm–once I had a conversation that lasted 3 hours with a friend who had hurt me deeply, and who I had hurt. She didn’t apologize or truly hear me until 2 hours and 45 minutes in; I stayed calm the entire time, kept my tone of voice kind, and eventually the shift occurred.
5. LISTEN–you have to hear what they’re saying in order to move forward. It’s a conversation, not a lecture, and you have to be prepared to hear the other person, even if they’re saying something you don’t like.
6. Be present–in order to have a productive conversation, especially when it’s about something sticky, you must be present. If you go into the conversation with preconceived notions you will do yourself and the other a disservice. You might be ready to go all night, and they apologize within 5minutes. You have to be present with what is happening as it’s happening.
7. Be honest, transparent + vulnerable- People rarely become angry or unwilling to communicate and cooperate when the other is truly vulnerable and honest about how much they’ve been hurt. When someone cares for you and you bare your soul to them, they’re likely to respond kindly and productively.
8.Look them in the eye! Eyes are the windows to the soul, and when having a sticky conversation, kind and loving eye contact is a must. It will remind you each of your deep connection and love for each other, as well as garner feelings of trust, safety and familiarity.
With love and clarity anything is possible, and even the hardest or most hurtful situations can be moved past with grace and strength.
Remember, YOU LOVE THEM!!
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